An Ode in Hunan

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You walk by the lake up the mountain The monks long gone, the monastery In ruins, the land wet, the rice deep

The laughter of your childhood the scatter Of crows. The dust on your feet is thick, Cakes in the sun, your eyes dark as a pool

Your hair in the wind, the salt on your lips. You always go quiet when your pulse is up Your words coming and going, fading in and out

Where below your family comes and goes The trees bending, the unsaid prayers Stacking up, pagodas under a sharp, blue sky

And in the distance small figures cluster As if vihara in the rock cliffs, and beyond Your shoulders a mirage of stupa

And our eyes, tongues, fingers, feet Seem to pass, the one the other, And what we say and taste is and is not.