Stephen Cushman
Pair of Anklets, Mughal, India, Seventeenth Century

Two brilliants, five diamonds, sixty-eight emeralds
from Colombia, and rubies galore. One thousand
twenty-two. But who did the counting?
And was it done in some museum or airless annex,
or while they decked two legs in action,
probably not dancing but maybe practicing
a particular page of the Kama Sutra, one of those ways
that would work the jewels up close to the eye
and keep them there, still, as long as it took
to number each gem by the flicker of torches
in a private pavilion out under the stars,
where quickness and closure could have no worth
for adepts who can dwell in the kiosk of a kiss.