A Hundred Gourds 3:3 June 2014

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Sonam Chhoki – Bhutan

What is there to know?

Clinic window. Hole in the clouds. Late winter sun melts icicles on the eaves. Drip, drip, drip blood and saline down clear long tubes. Against the white sheet the violet of bruised veins, name on a tag in black. Each heartbeat measured on the echocardiogram, in ticks and notes on charts by the foot of the bed.

Slowly thoughts empty . . .

cave temple —
leaving my shadow
at the sun-lit mouth

Late Nascence

She recognises him in the dim light of autumn twilight in his guise of the returnee: that muscled curve of shoulder and the hollow sleeve of his withered right arm, the reek of tobacco and that unwavering hold of head.

His eyes punch her.

She leans against the door, determined not to speak and betray her thoughts. Was it for this brutish stranger that she waited, night after night? Was it for him she squandered twenty years, nourishing his needs, starving her dreams?

‘I’m home,’ he says brushing past her into the room.

‘Home?’ she echoes, her voice sounding as if it comes from a distance, as if someone else’s. The window grille casts shadows on the floor like a cage. A bulbul that sings at dusk in her hedge flicks its tail and flies away. Suddenly, the glossy leaves of the persimmon in the yard seem dark and lustreless.

prison fence —
as if caught on the barbs
mist hangs in shreds

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