Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TWO TREES IN KATHMANDU, by KAREN SWENSON



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TWO TREES IN KATHMANDU, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Remember, in that garden eastward
Last Line: East of wherever the gate closed on eden.
Subject(s): Cows; Eden; Travel; Journeys; Trips


Remember, in that garden eastward
in Eden, there were two trees?
Though East, this is not that place.
That book does not even apply here
where a sacred cow down the street
ruminates on mango rinds in a garbage heap
but there are two trees.

One is studded with egrets like magnolia blossoms
preening white breasts among the leaves,
long necks hooked like shepherds' crooks.
The other, right beside it, wears bats
hanging like handbags in the sun
unfolding lazy wings to fan themselves.

But it is not just black and white
or mouse ears upside down and smooth-crowned heads,
but white shawls spread in the sun
trailing whispers of plumes
and black wings, naked, stretched taut;
the bones of flight visible through the flesh.

Where a sacred cow grazes on rotted fruit
bridal veils swoop out of the boughs;
at night the skin and bones of wings stroke
down moon channels between cottonwoods
East of wherever the gate closed on Eden.





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