The Shore of This Day

You walk on a path lined with palm fronds,
and mosquitoes swarm, but no, not yet—
once, before you stepped into a rainforest,
a cloud of mosquitoes rose in the clearing;
when the cloud dissipated, you headed
to a temple where you climbed the steps,
and, reaching the pinnacle, surveying
a canopy of ceiba trees, saw other temples
overrun by vegetation. That night, noises
in the rainforest were raspings on guiros—
you saw mosquitoes swarm a bloated
body floating on a lake; and, in the morning,
when you walked out of that rainforest,
bitten alive, you walked out of a past life.
In the coos of this morning’s white-winged dove,
sounds of howler monkeys reach
the shore of this day: you step onto an island,
walk on a path lined with palm fronds.
More Poems by Arthur Sze