As Far As Cho-Fu-Sa (Mookie Katigbak)

by Abner Dormiendo

“If you are coming down the narrows of the river Kiang
let me know beforehand and I will come out to meet you
as far as Cho-Fu-Sa.”

-Li Po, translated by Ezra Pound

What I am, ever, is this: composure of stone.
Spare weather visiting the garden, small as the hours
I keep watch by. Beyond this wall

Must be better weathers. This claw of stars
Must constellate somewhere into a bear.
Else names would lie.

Since winter’s thaws, no script from you
Save this: “I travel the river and follow
The white gulls —”

Husband. See me walking the dusty pass
Where loom our prior lives?
Here the years pass that I enshrine

Within these walls, sparing nothing
From the ardors of my stare. Blue plums,
Paired butterflies repeat you

In a walled world. I tell myself
To clear the moss, mend the gate
So long unswayed and caked with dirt,

But nothing moves. Somewhere
You are actual. Happen to me there.