MANY ROOMS

Monks chant in the garden.
Their robes glow
amongst the cabbages.

Between the shadows of the trees,
a pool, a fire, a pattern,
the echo of a drum.

The gatekeeper is gone,
or dead,
or perhaps he never was.

Photographs of ancestors,
boxes of bones
clutter the dusty hall.

In the earth-floored cellar,
an old woman
carefully turns a wheel.

A mother lights candles
in the dining room
and breaks a shiny braid of bread.

In the pantry,
priests and people polish silver
and finish up the wine.

In the pattern-tile tower
a beautiful  singer
calls down the crescent moon.

Lovers entangle in a perfumed bed
while a blue-skinned god
tramples the world away.

A multitude gathers
in the bathroom, longing
to see a face in the steamy glass.

Scholars rummage
the library for books in tongues
they hardly comprehend.

Philosophers expound in the parlor,
spilling coffee, shattering arguments,
scattering crumbs.

Alone in the cleaned-up kitchen,
a plump matron
practices tai chi.

Under the stairs,
children write wishes
on paper scraps.

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