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Dau Al Set

marking faces smeared with ash
the stranger thwarts us rumored
vocalise haunted still if only you
would plunder the storehouse kept
well-guarded are you there are we
troubling you repressed all winter
long release your captive breath

that maiden veiled in silks woven
into stars suffused with aspects
no one can discern warming up
a widow who shields her face her
drunken salt and blood for who’s
to say the ch’i that each of us has
hidden might not suddenly bloom

or rival a sage’s flowering arms
await the call each wanting ringed
with opaline fire the ceiling clay
shouldered-in by solemn guests
who ask for broth an oracle to be
chosen where the bottles stand
uncorked in these monastic cells

renounce the holy troth spare us
seraphic flame and heavenly forms
too much perhaps desired glazed
with pearly glow where initiates
forsook the root to try the bones
again in mansions we cannot enter
that wide room called the world