In butcher shops on hooks in Kathmandu
in early morning after Hindu-Buddhist prayers are said
thin dark men hang meat
of goats and water buffalos
and lay down heads with staring eyes
on counter-tops and at the back
legs from chopped bodies stand against the walls
and entrails spread across the floor
from freshly slaughtered lives
and though I gather my Tibetan coat about my neck
the flesh still steams defiant of its own demise.
The nights are cold and I have leased a down filled bag
and sleep alone inside a tiny hotel room
with thin and dirty papered peeling walls
and as my breath dissolves below my nose
I tuck my hands inside my sleeves to keep them warm
and watch the ducks and poultry
root through trash along the street
while Asian girls pour tea.
I want so much to share the world I hold inside my flesh
and realize that I, like meat, am only death
warmed over once by lust to give pretence.
by Paul Bourgeois