The clouds climb the sky
like waves cast to the heavens
by ancient ridgelines.
There is a ridgeline blue like mountain breath, breathing Sanskrit prayers, and I am but one
body like an ant, like visiting bees, collecting thoughts like nectar like the sound of thunder
and patter of errant tears on the leaves of trees. I remove my shoes. I bend these bits of flesh
over my meal. I settle like so many crackling, breaking bones amid blades of grass.
And I listen.
I listen for the answer to the question so recently asked: What form will your paradise take?
The drops fall fat, tumid, heavy with mountain hunger devouring that place where earth meets
slate-grey ink of clouds. And here, beneath the tree, I am dry. So dry. As if water replaced by
pain replaced by knowledge. The sounds of the downpour drift, widdershins, away from the lotus
of my legs.
And I listen.
I listen for the question to the answer of the greatest of the bodhisattvas who listens
and perceives the question to the answer of the spirit riding the marrow of my soul.
And I know paradise is an amphitheater whose spokes are canals from the womb
of the world. And there, in the stones, the rough-hewn and time-worn, circular stage
at our center, we are the players in the games of divinity—we are what we endeavor
and what is endeavored upon us—we are
that which is heard
through the mouthpiece
of our pain.
Lightning is a snake of fire
and I am somewhere running
from and to the beauty
of a black pea coat in the shape of a pearl,
a scarlet scarf like a mantel
like the decorated lobes of her ear,
the freedom of the moment
in the fingers pressing and pulling me
forward–my breath like gasping mountains;
her flushed cheeks like light and rain.