The prodigal leaves return to me,
Rewind into the breasts of a rain-tree.
Repose. I’m an amnesiac –Malacca, Malaga;
Oh, what’s in a word?
Not to say I am forgetful.
I liked cinnamon. I loved a boy
once. He was brown and wore a sarong.
Lived in a stilt-house by the rocking-chair sea.
He proffered a Kris, then a fish-scale moon.
I had them smoked, licked them
like a delicate
They rode the furling breadths of
poppies on me, eggshell-extracted to find
themselves in a Mandarin’s
cup. Or in a man, chewing his
Opiate was I.
I thought I was
a river, presently a rhythm.
And now? I am ancient -a withering hymn.
A girl from a distant island,
suddenly insecure in a dust-and-eternity market.
I have heard the red liveries, the Union Jack,
the cross erected on the sand.
I know Christ, and I know Paul -but who are you?
Call me Exotic, eternal, I tell them.
I am fragile, wilting in the hands of pale Fish.
I know your impotence, your semen.
As well as the fingers of a Javanese God.
A thousand years and the gold-haired tourists
scuffing my shores have not erased me,
and neither will you-
not for all the tea in China.