by Gord Sellar

The day’s weight sank it into its detritus,
dust-drenched hair, the leftover shakes
and groaning belly soothed by sweet, cool lemonade;
against the dingy whisper of strange bedsheets,
exhaustion a decrescendo planed into longing
as the cusp of sleep slips closer and closer,
my thumb, tip to the middle of palm, smoothing
soft across forehead, exactly just like this;
the swirling edge of a half-memory diluted
into weariness, the French-tinged voices returning
from Laure and Jérome, deep in that wintry night
of snow and apple wine and tales of poojas
in Nepal, the scent of a sweet pink paste
from the crushed bodies of hundreds of flowers
never seen by them, spread from cheek to forehead
and back; a safety fixed on the fate of travelers,
beloved wanderers at the doorway out. And strange,
in my wandering, I dream of anointing you,
the dinge of this upper room suddenly flooded
with the brilliant sweet aroma of these blooms.

— Agra, winter 2004

March 16, 2004

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