Mothers’ silver hair in the evening heat,
a bedchamber visited by waves
and a turquoise bedcover of lace and pearls.
In the day a line of salt on the doorstep,
a trench of whiteness shining on the plaster
as a scar.
Gusts of sea throat on the hot night asphalt;
then, stunned by the noon’s net,
a crab’s gaze is caught,
scraped out of the windy rust.
Africa at your heels, the low pounding of a breath,
the desert sailing up,
invading with shifts of sand the bewildered stages
and dishevelled sunlit curtains
and windows wide open as ages.
The sea after the storm, a neat, roughed up skin,
that is exactly what your own skin now wishes and gets,
goose-bumps glittering with foam and sunlight
haze-free in the clashing roar, the wave-crests charging upon the shore,
the wilderness’ marrow expanding in the morning.
After bathing in the sizzling frenzy
you sit and shiver and sense the simplicity
of Buddha’s all-is-an-illusion flash,
he must have never left what you are now touching for a moment
the quickness, the quicksilver sweeping strength of things,
he must have felt the utter joy
of sitting still while being swept away
as he had always been, in the park under the banyan tree,
far from the storm, the river flat in the heat.
Dark-blue grapes, the rows of vines,
sky trimmed with cells of earth’s blood.
And stubble on brown-red clay,
sodden and glittering by the river’s run.
The field sunken and steady and straight.
And the slanted afternoon sun, the shadow-line
beaming on the hills’ ruffled old grass.
Red wine, its froth shimmering inside the smudged
shiny barrel, in the cellar echoing steps,
hoards of whispers in beams and plaster.
And mushrooms around tree trunks,
displayed stares, veins of inner plains,
trails of just uncovered hearts.
The wet turf looking always so glossy
with its focused ochre and black universe crumbs,
with horses stamping, eyes entering, drinking ours.
And the elm and the oak, home deep down
breathing upward, steady and tense.
And a gallery of rusty-yellow webbed plane leaves,
large whispers shuffling pregnant with sky seeds.
Then a first fire
crackling, quiet, orange fingers
spread into dusk,
and chestnuts burnt on the edges,
our nether heaven
fierce in the coming dark.
It’s back, the fiery stripe on your table,
it’s higher now, out early above the opposite roof,
it gives your shoulders, through the window pane,
a foretaste of the luminous time to come.
Despite the promise of a clawing heat
you welcome it, without reserve.
You silently praise the unframed radiant countenance
and can’t feel close
to the Hindu monks who sit cross-legged
in a row on the beach, the reds and yellows
of their vests and faces full bright
in the broad bountiful light,
while they finger the coral beads in front of the sea
whispering their mantras not to be reborn
and trickles of sand stream away in the wind.
No, you can’t understand them at all,
your heart is “fastened to a dying animal”, no doubt,
but you feel healthy with desire
sitting at your warm illuminated table,
your arms settled on the smooth sunlit cherry-wood lines,
on time’s renewed, homecoming complexion.
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