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Your auburn coat burns fiercely in the tropical
humidity, cinnamon-striped with tribal markings.
Your sleekly muscled back ripples, rust-red,
as your stealthy topaz gaze pierces the forest.
A magnificent stare, holding the hidden secrets
of your amber eyes. Elegant and poised, your
ambling grace belies your strength and ferocity.
Your lifestyle is one of brutal simplicity:
Kill or be killed. It is a bone-deep consciousness.
Survival is all that matters; violence justified by
necessity. The inanities of politics, humankind’s
manipulation and greed are incomprehensible.
Charming cubs, fuzzy and playful, roll and tumble
like orange acrobats, heads cocked in curiosity,
their eyes wide and innocent. Ancient towering trees
bookend the dark doorways where snakes sleep
in this abandoned temple of archways and piled stone.
The clan worships amid sweating jungles, humid and
verdantly green, echoing with a thousand roars.
Buddhas meditate here, holiness etched in stone.
Carved deities perch in fallen eaves and gables.
Without you, the temple still stands, a survivor of
monsoons and mercenaries, the elemental fury
of wind and water and endless, relentless sun.
Tangled vines weave a net over crumbling walls and
fallen pillars, draping the tumbled stones like snakes.
The tigers chose the sleeping ruin, a labyrinth of stone
dragons, tranquil with the serenity of forgotten places.
Doorways are a metaphor
for transience, transformation, opportunity.
The two-faced god Janus controlled the doorway
between past and future, a cosmic stage scrim.
Behind each wooden portal,
between brass digits and flowerpots,
lives occur. Auras of lamplight illuminate
domestic scenes like something in a play.
Curtains billow like sails against the windowpane.
Coats are heaped on pegs
and kicked-off shoes are scattered.
Umbrellas stand dripping, upended along the wall.
A cat stares from a window,
an all-knowing glow in its green eyes.
A door is a blind eye,
glassless and impenetrable.
A closed door is a haven, a cave
guarding the privacy of its occupant,
a friendly fortress, a retreat, a cocoon
of calming silence, encouraging contemplation.
Every house is a box filled with heartbeats,
footsteps, history, a potpourri of voices.
The old trees lining the street bear witness
to their gossip, their comings and goings.
As I pass, I consider the geometry of every door:
Narrow windowpanes, light glowing through stained glass,
the mouth-flap of the mail slot, the gleam of knob and hinge,
the relationships that shift and evolve with every entrance and exit.
It is human nature, when one encounters a box,
an eagerness to look inside and discover its secrets.
The most basic desire is the one to open the door,
to step, inside, secure in the knowledge of arriving home.