Morfydd 2


Beyond India
        Beyond the orchids you might see the rubber flesh
of swelled fruit,  and in the central domed rotunda,
a counting table supports a lacquered ultramarine box
brilliantly inscribed with a naked pot-bellied child,
a rifle tossed over one shoulder.
       Also,  along the edge of the box was carved
an alternating series of silver bells and mangoes
the color of milk-tea.  It is always evening
when the triangular black hand
frosts upon the armchair
set in a corner behind a bead curtain—
an undersized monkey’s paw
holding a miniature silver bell
over a basket of mangoes the color of milk-tea.  All sensations,
even false ones,  repeat themselves like red ribbons
dropped about in the heat
that the town must swim through.
       The black hand is only a design on paper
formed of dark stamps from a distant civilization.
The remainder of this paper strip
seems at first to be filled with a great number of small teeth,
perfect in a way seldom seen in this region,  yet
they coalesce into a delightful piece of newspaper fluff
concerning the English Doctor’s rather difficult marriage.
        It is rumored that the syphilis medicine
is locked in the box
and that next to the inevitable syringe
lies a fountain pen with a gold seal
advertising a local bottled ale.  You see,
once drunk,  every stinking dullscaled fish
in the water appears
to be a chime on a long string of chimes,
and a sort of charm against these recurring bad dreams.
       The mangoes sit beneath a yellow silk umbrella, 
the air darkens them to blue eggs
and stretches their forms into a chain of crescents
up and down the greenhouse wall.  Like a birthmark
on the jungle,  khaki-colored
with half a dozen white bungalows
scattered along the perimeter like small,  perfect teeth.
       Beyond all this,  a one story wooden building,
a spiritual citadel stacked among the millionaire’s imported pines.
Then comes the incredibly tiny river
tucked over to the left as one leaves,
the waves hidden behind the pagoda’s aggravating
rash of roses.


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