In from the murderous heat, I'm safe.
A white temple entry room with peeling paint
like all the rooms of the hemispheric poor
where I can finally take my sandals off and rest.
Where I may dip three fingers in a porcelain bowl of water,
then wood ash, drawing prints across my chest
like one readying for sleep without a dream.
I’ve never been one for religious rites.
And I hope whoever cares won’t care
that I forego obligatory lines along the forehead,
for a brand more private.
No one stands for long in this middle passage.
It is cool and still here, and I linger for no reason,
twirling the stem of a scarlet-yellw hibiscus
sealed up for the morning,
sucked tight to its own center
with skin like a surgeon’s rubber glove.
At the foot of His chair, in light and warmth,
at a later time, when things are licit,
that’s when I expect my flower may speak.