by Tse Hao Guang
Apart from shots of “engrailed arches”
symmetrical and subdivided by shadow?
Imagined walls and cornices bright as Tilak
ash, the “brilliant chunam” stucco since scraped
off or washed out; “inlaid panels executed
by Austin of Bordeaux,” where a minor jeweler felt
Orpheus move in himself; noble Shah Jahan’s
lost throne: two peacocks behind it studded
with sapphires and diamonds to represent life,
fringe of pearls at the border of the canopy, between
peacocks a parrot carved from single emerald.
A mustached man, check-shirted, mouthing odd
English odd as your own, also alone, another
state, little days leave and computer company
based in Gujarat, wife and two children, uncle
birthday tomorrow, drink? or snack? maybe short
while even tho you make planning to different place
as now we are brothers, do journey together.
Auto-rickshaw. Hindi back and forth. Beer stop.
Innocent park. Couples in sun. “Aajaao on the beach
yaar photo meri khinch / phuti kismat hogi teri gar
tune ye bast na maani.” Synth Bhangra. Can hissed
open. On the tomb of the Shah—“He traveled
to the banquet hall of Eternity the night of the twenty-
sixth of the month Rajab, in the year 1076 Hijri.”
Crossed legs. Stranger danger! Rather drowsy.
What was taken at the Diwani-i-‘Am? Nikon
D5100—“Creativity from Any Point of View”; sense
of balance; Seamus Heaney’s New and Selected—
“My ghosts come striding into their spring stations”;
passport with affixed visa; patchwork mouse lucky
charm; false audience for vanished king in hollow
audience hall; cool pink sandstone; Persian
poetry on outer arches of neighbouring Diwan-i-Khas,
off-limits to all but archaeologists and courtiers:
If heaven can be on the face of the earth,
it is this, it is this, it is this.