The Deosai Plains

1 December 2013

are baptized in July
with four thousand
pink scimitar-flowers,
trampled and chewed
by wild, wild goats.

Snowcocks hound their temples,
the smoking rockscape
hollows that seem to breed
in this part of Pakistan,
and house the Himalayan
marmot and ants
that dig for gold.

They are a national park
at the foot of eight thousander
mountains, the giant
ribs of God with names
like Everest and Makalu.

Bearded vultures whip
and splash like fleets
of kayaks in the sky,
piloted by Choctaw
shaman daughters
or sorcerers from Pyke.

One bird will gnaw
the blossoms and rest
at Jaisalmer, the city
where yellow foundations
rise like mountains
of powder and coal,
gnarled and broken
as the marrow
in an eaten bone.

But back to the plains
it goes in a week,
perching on viny terraces
where manioc and peaches grow,
wild and invasive,
thrumming in the brutal wind,
dancing in a horde.

The flowers, goats, birds
and ants and rats are conjoined
in purple tongues,
blades of summer grass
lifting in a requiem
and pentecostal glow.

They float over churches,
mosques and the stone turtle
at Karakorum range,
and for miles of Pakistan
until it is swallowed in the shore.

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