In Bhutan my camera's click jerks a yak from her suckling young. Miles up-mountain a goatherd struggling to lift her dead goat's feet, stuck in blue junipers, finds a snow leopard jawing the head. As I reach for water in the darkness a half-human half-animal call creates one gold bowl of sound. Dawn's green butterflies alight on pines miles from their home while the yak herders say not migoi, maybe leopard. Deep in a riot a child is torn off a woman like a postage stamp. Coffee steam lifts from cups we hold on the rooftops to join smoke from a still-simmering bazaar. Thunder rolls on the ground. Mountains don't answer the goatherd shrilling for the rest of her flock. The guard dogs' hoarse shouts at the leopard's howl are swelling thunder's silence.
Maya Rani Khosla works as a field biologist and toxicologist. Her full-length book of poems Keel Bone (Bear Star) won the 2003 Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize.