The stillness of the day moves in his limbs
he responds to my touch, tilts his head.
Eyes are closed –
the first place to lose light
and warmth: the dampness of the earth under the tree
wraps around the toes.
He breathes shallowly
like the caterpillar, every ounce of energy flows to the exploding wings
– the colors like that of the ribbons sold outside the temple.
The pinwheels whir in the breeze from the sea
hair tousled he looks at the pigeons that fly from the spire
at once the recess of his brain fills with bat excreta
the pungent want slops down the matted hair
he asks, is desire a muscle or a nerve?
In response, the little bodies of the bees hit the window pane
fall on the bed of asters, their wings a plank of light pointing to the sky
their bulbous saps drown in the dust of pollen.
He has given up carrying the heads of people he killed
the tree of breath sprawls on the water like the mangroves of Bengal
the slow-moving river guts the snake pits
gouges his face. Ghouls clamber out of swollen eyes
the lines on the chapped lips clamor in desperation:
craving is a long straw ingesting death in small sips.