Smoke buoys behind the limestone wall.
Ashes trail flames, marching single-file.
Somewhere, my misplaced blazer burns,
found object of the night. Navy gold.
Mountains tonsure clouds like ancient poets
skirting ponds, reciting Confucian teachings,
watery poems. How the Orient still smiles
on us. At dusk, Chinese verse soars. Swans glide.
Plum wine dribbles down my chin. Chopsticks
stab at rice, scrape edges of bowls. To indulge
at supper dulls the calligrapher’s quills, wrenches
the novice's gut. Fasting alone inspires.
I have invested my heritage in black scrawls on parchment.
A jagged road map of singed stumps and empty barns.
Harvest never comes. Clouds of smoke billow past
skittering horses. They whinny for air, pure, golden.
Our love sets fire on fire, consuming fuel for flitting
flames. I scribble epic poems on your palm.
A clenched fist erases meaning; images tumble
to the ground. You trample the limestone trail.
Heat excites my muse; she jitters before forms
of beauty, Plato’s dialogues in hand. The Greeks
saw gods as swans, painted folly on their faces, seared
lust from their loins. Prometheus steals fire for mystic poets.