Duy Quang Mai

A hot stroke of yellow, the pug wagged its tail

by the moor. His owner elbowed

through the snow, then ran after the little creature.

Their footprints and breath-smoke engraved in

the lapis of light. Theatre

of tenderness. Cathedral of time.

Pine-barks prickled snow,

and the dog nudged the owner’s

fingertips, slowly. Still-snowing.

The way I waited, this path, for a frost-flake

to drop — its entirety in this vein-blue

hour — to signal that it was here once,

that it touched. But no, there was

only the lushness of my fingers’ shadows

contouring those velvet, snowcapped mountains.

As if reaching for the fabric of a future, calcified

by this late winter. The distance between was and will is only this:

still wild geese, penciling themselves

into January’s departure. So much of this old light,

that I’m back to you again, the wet torso of early morning mist

and your ever-arrival. You who told me once — to look

is to be made found. You, who always crouch

by the floorboards, thinking

how our hands will always find ourselves.

Yes, of course the hands which moved,

the faces that turned, I remember them all.

This sovereignty of a touch.


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