I woke & my fingernails were long. Where I movedI drew blood. She, descendent of opium fields,chose me. In this intermezzo of luckI am ridiculous. Her digital photos reveal me:pants tucked in high over my gut, staring outat morning beach umbrellas past a big red nose,eyes shocked as if readjusting to bad news.While dancing I step on her foot & she laughs.Her poised look asks, “Surprised I try to please,farang?” My capacity to worship endures.My capacity to endure is played out. I tell herI don’t like heels. Don’t they make it hard to walkon sand? She winks. She reveals little. Tipsyon Jell-O spritzers, she let it slip that as a kid shehad a pet bunny that chased trucks. Whydid her bunny do that? So much is inconceivable,sunstruck on our backs under a banyan treethat eddies like a river but slower than time,like Paganini violins. Tar coats my throat& I stare at stars—no, between—at blacknessdeclared unmanifest, unthinkable, immutable.The moth of night eats the linen sky. Timesiphons love. Her hand is small & brown in mine. [End Page 39]
John Wall Barger’s poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, The Atlanta Review, and The Montreal Prize Global Poetry Anthology. His second collection, Hummingbird (Palimpsest Press, 2012) was a finalist for the 2013 Raymond Souster Award. He lives in Hong Kong and teaches creative writing at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.