Cocooned in seal bliss bed curling warmth,
earth coated wedding dress white
grass contorted, trees jangling stalactites
far down beneath in dark concealing peace
worms spin their lonely journey.
Snow is no soft option as the griping
cold turns breath to smoke, dragons
in my heart whip and churn cry out
for recognition: the city is a still gown
of feathers in the frost.
Bright eyed children wipe frozen fingers
I have reached saturation, rising from dream seas
contorted glaciers of my mind’s synapses
snap bridges shut I’m washed by ice flows
glinting on moon dulled landscapes.
Breath turns as ultramarine becomes black
mind replays symbols:
Childhood taught me the need for ritual for the living, mourners hung in white robes, incense trailing pungent smoke, clashing symbols and then voices raised in grief’s cry. There was so much heat on those fervent tropical streets while children threw small candy to appease threatening deities. We would raid Chinese graveyards at half-light, swimming the monsoon’d alleyways to retrieve jangled treasure, crumpled photos of deceased Buddha’s left to protect, no sooner owned than somehow shrinking in stature. Sitting high on flat porch roof watching Ramadan’s procession, men with knives stuck through tongues, beating drums, chanting priests, swaying of naked bodies, and we knew they were bound for the snake temple, the creatures a slithering mass of poison the opiated faithful crawled amongst.
We sucked florid ice cubes daring each other to jump, fly the forty foot from sky to concrete, until I, trying out my seven-year-old flirtations egged the boy next door to his doom. We watched him fly, then crash, and later drew dragons on his plaster cast taking it in turns to knitting needle the itching. Amah’s clattered in the crowds below calling errant children as we surveyed the crush in safe serenity.
Here on this seal morning it is the lack of heat that drives me down deep my hands stiff like my wisteria, gaunt and crusted with Northern winter.