Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Who Was That? (II)

Sg., last night I heard a story
about the stone six orphanage

where on your birthday
and on deathdays
and on red days

you'd bring unhulled rice
and pyramids

of banana leaves
with cooked rice,
sliced cucumber
and a little meat

transported laboriously
over stony roads
on Uncle's wood-platform

J. said the kids were thrilled.
Who wouldn't be?
125 pyramids!

Cooked the night before
by you, and her,
and T. -- praying at her wall shrine

But when the kids asked you
What should we pray for, Older Sister?
For your luck, for your prosperity?

You answered -- shocking my ears, from your grave

Pray for my disease to lift.
It afflicts me.

I never heard you talk like that
to anyone

to any stranger


And when they asked your name
you refused to answer

Leaving the poor clerics
up to their knees
in rice sacks

and confused

On the peddle platform,
bumping home,
you told J.

They'll know my face.

The kids must have thought

who was this mysterious lady
who brings still-warm food
and full canvas sacks?

But does not bring her name,

and talks so clearly about her agony