Banteay Srei

by Terry Ann Carter

Of all the temples in Angkor

and there must be at least forty—

Banteay Srei is my favourite:

I imagine the fingers of women

holding the implements to carve

pink sandstone, quartz arenite into

small delicate roses trailing lintels.

Foliage. Female dancers, perfect

in proportions. Their loosely draped skirts

and heavy earrings almost moving

in an intimate gesture toward friendship.

This is a thing you need to touch

as though tapping these secrecies would

breathe life into cold stone.

A  blessed mood erases the wasted

fields, the blood-soaked earth of earlier

roads. I am reminded of the Buddhist proverb:

the fallen flower never returns to the branch

the broken mirror never again reflects.

I close my eyes to recall a favourite haiku—

the falling flower

I saw drift back to the branch

was a butterfly

the chakra of my spine, split open.

From Day Moon Rising, Windsor, Ontario: Black Moss Press, 2012.