In that country they did not belong,
they belonged. A sonorous lament of bells through forest mist,
tolling of unknown rituals, in the crumbling house
all the furniture wrapped in shrouds,
his heart cocooned and beating blindly as if lost
between moths and silk. The squeal and twitter of monkeys
reminds her of the end of sense.
How quick then to reach her thoughts
all the contorted music of our flesh has come.
A burning boat, his youth
runs with the current, so the river in flood
speeds him up then slows him down
into dilated stretches of time, where his helpless wreck drifts on
like wisps of village smoke rising in the languid fumes of opium.
In a pink kimono, and coat of cherry red,
he pads in sandals through the snow,
can he survive his sadness?
And, if death relents,
can she survive her innocence?

Show me your sign.
For if you do not, how will I know you?

Show me your sign.
For if you do not, how will you be?
How will I see you? Or feel you? Or find you?

Show me your sign of love.
As the ginkgo leaves outlast the mountain,
and the new poem arrives to oust the old,
he will not survive her innocence, and she
cannot survive his sadness.
Still, show me your sign.

In the derelict temple where the passing
god of all things
has taken shelter from the unseasonal rain,
her fingers arrive in no sense,
with the lit candles and the readers’ gaps and
sighs, and molasses too,
the downpour tosses into her eyes
a simmer of translucent zeroes, a perpetual unrest
as the gamelan of storm on rooves and drains and gutters
throws to her ears the puzzle she has
already prepared for it,
strange how the weather is just there, monotonous and given.
Her soul is a glass forge, where swords are hammered,
we always end up cutting ourselves upon their edges
and looking surprised at the limits of our knowledge, so sure
we’ll get it right the next time, no problem.
She figures out a beast of mercy.
His uniform is operatically white, he is a captain
partaking of the very drugs he’s charged to curb, his dream
is larger than the whole city, even at noon.
When there is nothing else, people bring words, then leave them
to curl like flowers before neglected graves.

Show me your sign.
For if you do not, where will I be?
I may not even know I am alone.

Show me your sign –
your sign of love.
For if you do not, how may we go on,
to conjure from this darkness a society?

Show me your sign.

Show me your sign of love.