The palace is riddled with sounds;a kiss of reason wings
through each bureaucrat's silence,a world at stake
in the wealthof each jester's gesture.
Like the Buddhist iconsand Hindu dancers
with their mudrasbefore and after them,
the mute attendants of the seraglioengage in a purity of gesticulations:
the duplicity of a scrotum grab,the strangulating bow string,
what it means to be takenwithout a prayer. [End Page 21]
Scott Hightower is the author of four books in English and one that is bilingual (Spanish-English). Translations of poems from a manuscript by the Spanish-Puerto Rican poet Aurora de Albornoz garnered him a Willis Barnstone Translation Prize. He teaches as adjunct faculty at NYU and Drew University. A native of central Texas, he lives in Manhattan and sojourns in Spain.