December 26, 2004, 07:58:53 Sumatra Time
The ocean rolls civilization into layers of peat
and the air, full of great waves, dry desert
nothing to breathe but the songs of the curls
of tsunami so large a universe is lost in seconds.
There is no musical phrase but echoes as oceans war with
the trees throwing human tantrums
At the edge of the water there’s a dirge
simple beat, like musical dirty coins,
an accordion playing porno loops for puppets.
Nothing heard but the mime of the clarinet
and the churn of the bass and an off-pitch guitar;
we assume as the skies are clouds and burnt
sienna rushed from wings and all sex stands
still in the tips of waves that crack spines
and killer whales cannot escape rip-line.
On the last day healing began.
We will make water clean again
The buildings empty; dunes rebuild—
The underside of the river blends
zing and zarrow as sand melds fingertips
in the usual ways of sediment, which
sometimes brushed my cheek as sensory
idols turned the leer and made the hot face
that instant calm after love a complete
lake, where water is more than fire
quenched lakes at fundus or sentiment.
Sex began the wave and recovery too.
Pieces of skin were the seeds of the faces
that will haunt the waters of 100,000 dead
and the human rage off the terror we know
visits on the underside of hysteria and loneliness.
Nature has its obituary and we mark down
numbers in red and black, minus light
again, always the loss of light on the edge of leaf
where the stars such small items actually
are the compendium of miracles for tongues
she broke open with a brief morning swim—
for chance has no alphabet and no lies.
After, when time was water and walls
I no longer count the graves of ancestors
but mark their acts with fervor
and when I step to the altar
I count my life as evidence
for mystery plays and docudrama;
I climb down cliff without any guide;
my mask is lost, no longer protects
from ocean or waves without mercy.
Here in the courtyard, the water from the fountain
runs over the statue dedicated to the nightmare.
Even in tide pools, terror pastes after shock
vibrates when wave commits when the beach
has lost all dimensions. Theres nothing
to do but run. Every step buries mollusk,
brachiopods and silver star;
faithful ashes blown out again
where nothing remains but return.