“Write about yourself,” the white-haired poet said,
bored with my toddler-beggars and drunk shamans,
with gods of orphans and bargain child brides,
tired of stupas piled with human bones.
“The naked girls in your temple vines are stone.
Why should I care about the shyness of whores
in leather skirts who kneel with flowers
for Buddha? Yourself — not children in the foam
your wake leaves, greeting and cursing your boat.”
But even in my home I wander half lost,
having outwalked the farthest city light,
to return pre-dawn across soot-flecked frost
my lusts bright domes of gold in the sun,
my terrors beggars with stumps for hands.