Nightly she sings on yond pomegranate tree.
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.
Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Late October. In the twilight, warmth lingers anywhere at your wish.
So you came, a little behind the tartan skirt,
With a middle-aged modesty, along the aspen-lined street.
Eyes filmed with a dark gleam. A sight
In my mind’s eye my eyes ached to divert.
Autumn could not be autumnally bettered.
How come you did not finish the street?
How could it not be ended on a whitewashed screen wall?
Which alley did you turn to follow and arrive at yourself,
As if you sleepwalked through a brown field
That was streaked with silvery riverlets and steaming furrows?
If dreams flower at night, do they bear fruits in the sun?
I heard you mumbling “The pomegranate tree by the old well…”
But dusk is falling fast and I was nor sure
Whether your lips bore the question mark of a smile.
There must have been a thin mist over your half-fledged forehead.
A pomegranate, its navel like a mauve rose in bud,
Resided there like an auspicious bell on the flying eave.
So photogenic! It was a jewel, a souvenir.
I do not need you to spell it out. I do not care
Whether it is a retarded leftover after the harvest.
The bridge of your nose glimmered, vivid like a firefly at dawn
Which I could catch only in my imagined memory
Of a time when I was too callow to pronounce the word love.
Tonight, I peeled its age-speckled rind
And scratched out the barnacled vesicles in the reddish pulp.
The mild acid induces a coolness on my tongue blade.
Oct. 23, 2006