my mind is a maze of serpentine
storylines, bending and swirling
with the Kabul River, cuddling, carving
belting the Hindu Kush;
Hindu Kush to the Tian Shan;
Tengri Tagh or Tengir-Too, anything at all
to breathe in Mountains of Heaven.
Sharp, cascading inhales of the ice gods, the grins
I see in the snow lines, the dusk-shades cast by sunlight—
Yes, I’ve got the kitchen scissors left on the office desk
along with your note.
I’m standing, bareshod and slightly sweating
in the afternoon glare, trimming the ficus
that overgrows the pathway.
I trim delicately;
for with the coppery snips
I fall, more resolute
into each crispy step of the
Karakoram Highway, pedaling down from Kashgar
sweeping the Hunza, cycling with bird-arms
through Jamalabad, blowing a smooch at the violet-misted
Disteghil Sar, the back of my neck twinging from the elevation—
On afternoons such as these,
under the tropical breeze of the trade winds,
it’s only this ficus I’m snipping
that stands between
two wheels and the roof of the world.