I too have stood in a circle of light
like a peace offering from the seawater past
scratching the floor of the world.
After pink and yellow coral, the boats disappeared.
Bovine eyes filled with gold,
the gaping O’s witnesses become
among dry kisses of bougainvillea – the day
nobody walked to their death.
Some details are known, if irrelevant.
Marking tiny human rituals toward function and aesthetic.
the beginning of the curl of your lip,
the way you are given a woman’s waist.
Why am I in this air loud with hooves?
(In the mind of a city
where all the ovens work) – do you miss fingers like gems
around your neck?
Between capture and reflection, the glass is thin.
Who knows what to do with things lifted
more tenderly than a child out of sea-
sadness, other than behold our trying
enameled on your body, the salted-flesh beneath
what glaze could be rescued.
The photographs we take: those rooms of forgetting.
And what can a child tell us about the dark
other than who lives in it?
Hallways are well-lit in the palaces of narrative – eventually
the ringing of our feet drowns in tropical carpets,
just through those gilded doors,
in the age of steel and reason.
That is where I come from,
and this procession of mirrors,
and the doves
with their olive branches made in Bangladesh.
To the past I offer what I can: a noun, a half-
There was a balcony I was not permitted
to view the city from, a sky
I whorled into an ear.
In those days, I was perfectly designed.
The God to whom I prayed
was not a jar, and the backs of vermin gleamed
like galaxies. Sometimes I miss
how warm it was, swaddled
in shame and marrow-meat.
That my child’s shadow may lengthen.
That causation is banished and love is victorious.
That no water is holier than the lungs it occupies
like annotations. On the stage
of light, the clay of our hands stutter. That after
rain and pestilence, a low blue light
in the structure emptied of horses – your mouth
tipped to another, filling with grain.