A River, A World

Take your time in Dubai,
take your turn in Kabul or Jerusalem.
In seven rooms that face the river,
I pace my panic.
Uncapped paints pile table and desk.
Arrival Ceremonies, The Hangman’s Departure
are panels settled in a painter’s gallery.
Mystery lines, bruised hands that won’t heal,
assemble portfolios furtive with contrition and conjecture.
Asking my question twice,
I’ve heard no answer.

For each day, you own a different smile:
courtesan lilt, business bright,
modest mistress of the sewing room.
There is a conceit harbored by each city’s lover
that your restless grace leaches a world pale,
your gravity in sleep commissions a meteor’s demise.
I hold your husband’s wary note,
a check, a pair of airline tickets.
I attempt no offense. I leave easy.

The evening turns late, light-hollowed,
suitcases lined like rifles in a barracks.
Framed by river bank and cliff walls,
water’s fall blooms to the moon,
splashes white as it falls, as it flows.
Car lights, heat lightning slice the window panes.
Town car idling, we argue destination and direction.
Opinions hold, bitter and bearing gifts.

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