A poem in phases
In the dim-lit murk of memory
where thoughts stick
like boots in the marsh mud,
I sink into an image of you,
under a full moon,
Seated cross-legged on the almost floor of the night temple,
almost because weeds pushing through the cracked soapstone
offered more flora than floor.
Two ruined walls remained standing, crumbling
No ceiling left for them to hold
Only the starless templed sky
off-key and with much enthusiasm
the melody long-since forgotten
but your feral face turned moon ward
remains in my brain, unwrinkled
While others chanted, you
and I, blasphemous, laughing, sneaked off into the dream green wood,
padded barefoot down the pulpous moss bank
knelt before a sacred tributary,
and pressing unholy lips to water,
I tried to leave you first in Kipling’s India,
in Matthiesen’s Nepal, Ishiguro’s England,
in my many disordered states.
Throwing I Ching coins for guidance
I sought answers in the book you gifted
and inscribed, “For all the changes.”
What chance did I have?
Time rolled on and over my jagged ambivalence
leaving scree in its crevices
like oyster sands turned to pearls
some days moon-lustrous,
others wound rope-tight around my neck.
And still we loved.
Where we went, we were