In the dream you lived in a house with a staircase steeped into a mountain,
so that to move betwixt the floors of your days was a pilgrim’s passage.
Because you were not my fate, I could climb the mountain with my back straight,
burdened by no weight but fragrance, willed by no less than duty or more than desire.
All that had transpired between us had transpired. The years had passed. The
monastery ridged the mountain’s spine. Time was copper, its meaning verdigris.
In your house you kept books with my name on them, and books in your own hand.
My eyes swept over them sometimes. Once, your arm on the back of a sofa, its hairs,
which I brushed with neither intent nor caution. We sighted one another in silence,
often. This had become life, dream-life: the quotidian, the sheer grey-black rock and
the alcoves of devotion in the near distance. I can embroider that world with aura:
vespers, five-metal bells, the way that flowers only fell in slow-motion, as though
all letting go was lackadaisical, all winds the winds of ease. But the fabric I re-entered
this other world touching was this: how as I ascended the steps one day, you reached up
and placed your palm against my bare calf as you stood below me. You brought my skin
to where your collar opened to the skin over your heart. Wordless tenderness woke me:
dawn was breaking open in that other life, the sky morganite over the ghats, while
here in the new moon’s darkness breath misted again across old meander scars.