Two Trees in Kathmandu


Remember, in that garden eastward
in Eden, there were two trees?
Though eastward, this is not that place,
that book does not even apply here
where a sacred cow down the street
ruminates on mango rinds in a garbage heap
but there are two trees.

One is studded with egrets like magnolia blossoms
preening white breasts among the leaves,
long necks hooked like shepherds’ staffs.
The other, right beside it, wears bats
hanging like handbags in the sun
unfolding lazy wings to fan themselves.

But it is not just black and white
or mouse ears upside down and smooth crowned heads
but white shawls spread in the sun
trailing whispers of plumes
and black wings, naked, stretched taut, thin
the bones of flight visible through the flesh.

Where a sacred cow grazes on rotted fruit
bridal veils swoop out of the boughs
splinter the eye with light like sun sharp frost;
black wings at night stroke their galley oars
down moon channels between overhanging cottonwoods
East of wherever the gate closed on Eden.