Tall fallen poles snake along the busted sidewalk

Midst yesterday’s rubble and today’s piled on,

half-finished high rises lean skyward, skirted by bamboo scaffolds

revealing gaps and failings. A testament to the rubble

that will come. Fat new cars line the narrow streets.

At lane’s end, rows of buildings like a mouth

filled with busted teeth, gnash and gnaw at the sky

No need to hurry you tell yourself without quickening the pace

So many times you’ve looked up as the stories rose

without support, and still you pass.  It’s the wrong day, the goddess,

chained within her shrine, can’t be sought for a blessing.

Along a narrow roped off passage

lived in buildings lean on each other for support

No need to hurry you remind yourself

as you shyly skirt the rubble sledge-hammered

from above. At the clinic I go to –not in a raised tent

outside the old building’s quake weakened walls,

but in a less temporary shed of tin– I’m told about a jacket

found pitched into the abandoned courtyard

Two passports in the inside pocket,

one cancelled the other with an expired Nepali visa

and what appeared to be curry stains

and few Indian rupees

tucked inside. Strangely confirming my thoughts,

deepening the refrain that sang me through the labyrinth

on the way

in… It’s not modernity that raises the city

thick and high, it’s murder!

June 5, 2015


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