BARNACLES

This valley was once a lake
These sun scrubbed hovels,
swathed in mist,

barnacles… This hilltop gompa
at daybreak, a small fortress
buffeted by winds,

at dusk, a lofty sandcastle
abandoned at tide’s
turning. These scattered high rises,

shape shifting in the mid-day heat,
outposts for an invader massing his armies.
Kathmandu, your leaning walls

stuccoed with signs,
your warrens torn down
as they rise up

choking on recycled
grit and dust. Your streets and traffic
a gaggle of snakes slithering.

This valley was once a lake
its fertile soil, kilned and harvested,
its sunken waters sucked dry.

Like scales on a stealth
dragon’s back, the spreading fissures
on its barnacled skin,

moon-tide ripples of the quake that
comes

 

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