Opening a Window
I can plainly see now the small boats
On the bay, motioning from the edge of dream.
Their specks of figure slow and deliberate,
Ponderous grace in the daybreak.
The tumult of morning is sounding off
From my knuckles and fingertips
Now beginning to touch the rigors of mortal breaths.
A backpacker shuffling about in the next room,
Crickets’ hum fading into sunlight,
The sprawl of trees emerging once more
From the lonely bank of sleep.
The guesthouse kitchen is now
Ablaze with Khmer cooking,
And I brace myself for the taste of the day’s potion.
The sea of Kompong Som washes text
Of imponderable like dark brandy into my tongue
While the islands are yet brightening
To the drag of light. I know that my footing
In this country or just about any place else
Is always tentative and fragile.
But I could skim the undertow of disquiet,
Look in the eye of a raging grief,
And still bow down to the exquisiteness of frangipanis.
30 October 2000
Kompong Som, Cambodia