Poem #5 ~ that was then

That was then

Between the banyan’s ropy limbs
The monk offered incense to the faithful
And to the round-eyed child who only then
Realised where god lived: within this smoky cave

Where saffron robes flickered like leaflight
Like the dreams where she bargained with god
To make for her a home. Here, where sandalwood
Was in each breath. Here, where she would never

Belong. Her very skin argued with the monsoon
Shining through its silver curtain, her pale legs
Crossed in front Buddha style. She is not
Invisible, despite the magic she is certain

Infuses the air. She is người Tây, foreigner
Suspended between then – that longlost then –
And now, some essential part of her


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