On all sides, the town’s persistent

drone. Above, a child’s kite

caught high in the poplar branches

whispers its complaint

In the rooftop wall, crack and stain spawned,

a hand splays its fingers

and reaches out

In the distance, a cloud-borne face

scowls and grins

Left to itself, the sky

darkens. No longer lit, the wall

fades. From roof to room

the hand claws its way

in. That face, or another, moon lit,

pockets its grin. Across the lane,

open window, bare bulb, a calendar,

utensils dangling from nails

Bare feet propped on the window ledge

like pigeons cooing

Here, in a cool downward draft of light

wide-eyed, our daughter


as she utters


Kathmandu, 1981


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