Two things

and later, when the worst has healed and you find
yourself back on the desert trail, you will know two

things instantly: 1. the shifting, sinking, whispering
sand will outlive you, absorb you and 2. with the

sky too wide and the stars too many and the land
too vast, in the sand that holds and drowns and

forgives, you will fall to your knees and no matter how
small you felt that one night, drinking spurious rum

from bootlegged bottles when everything was locked
down and no one came or cared or could, no matter

how little was left of you the next morning, you will
know you are less. And then you will rise and smile,

sadly, because a virus, even smaller, with no hands or
heart, had for a while, taken down an entire planet.

A Cup of Butter Tea

dawn breaks like an ugly rash,
the sky, its dark head thrown back,
gargling the early light,
bubbles of gold swirling in its inflamed throat,
and he, a pergola of moonbeams collapsing around him,
disrobing the night, one star at a time,
karma floating like scum on his cup of butter tea,
moving away, further away, like an itinerant sun;

she watches from a window,
this inside-out morning not birthed from night,
but goodbye is the slow eleven steps
that silence ran to the gate,
a fallow sound, its trailing pause,
its comma, rendering it absurd,
a machiavellian contortion
from a warped sense of orbiting time,
a broken calligraphy brush
that feels the cramp of a phantom half-word,

where the twilight draws purple temples,
the holy gather around the fire,
ghee drizzled through a sieve of chants,
a god, a dozen, blinking smoke from their eyes,
the now is shred into a million unmoving parts,
each a split promise of the thereafter,
on a garden path, a footprint fills with inconsequence,
while the virgin unuttered brushes its mud stained gown.