Butchershop in Kathmandu

In butcher shops on hooks in Kathmandu
in early morning after Hindu-Buddist prayers are said
thin dark men hang meat
of goats and waterbuffalos
and lay down heads with staring eyes
on countertops 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 Tibettan 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.

a poem
Paul Bourgeois
Kathmandu, Nepal, /90


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