She talks to plants & animals;
& boasts of a green thumb, they say.
Such habit of the mind
to keep modern savages from her door:
the bad news beasts she reads everyday,
the state of disarray that accompanies
her slow walk around her lair:
Where’s Shangri-la? Eden?
How she wished they weren’t fables –
the world has turned upside down,
unlike in the good old songs…
This makeshift garden is a safe harbor
where planet earth has a Chinaman’s chance
of warding off the global storms.
Siestas give her the second wind
To grapple with her ancient chores
in this house where sudden gusts of wind
spill her cup of tea in the visitation
of dust & handymen…
She, now & then, would repair
to the solitude of churches & confessionals –
in her hands an old, shabby bible
to beat off spirits & hot afternoons.
O how she must construct
the sanctum sanctorum of her soul
where animals converse & flowers bloom
like Celtic incantations
against decay & destruction.
She dreams of giant vines crawling
over her body & onto her face,
as though to squeeze off
her quantum reservoir of air…
Then the cats would turn
into huge tigers of night fire,
growling into her gray eyes
like she were a cruel zookeeper
& sudden interloper…
O what madness visits old age?
Is it the lamented youth
coming alive & bringing back
destruction of passion in its wake?
Everything resists her mind’s command
where it used to be putty on her heart’s palm!
Yes, times are fast & merciless,
The demons are still prancing out there,
devouring the children like they did
once upon a time in her own time.