XI

One by one, she removes the layers of her robes,
silk, snakeskin, pearls and sand.
Beneath, she is the swift blood and a curved bone.
She is a stone of frenzy.
Men have paid handsomely
to die in this blossom of the night,
for she is a moss of infinite need,
Buddha and lotus,
sky and remorse,
the secret spring of their deepest ache.

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