The One Palace

Night of the double solstice.
A woman prisoner in her bird-tormented attic
tears up pages and pages of Chinese,
then filters it through the slats of her window,
till the sky rains
small white inscriptions of poems
landing like soot in neighbouring yards.

I match the fragments together:
the thirty three stages of heaven
including its usual starting point -
And, beside it, the ample corridors of loss
and the bliss hidden within despair.
And the two of us,
delicate and naked
beneath the fine-spun sheet of calligraphy,
two shadows quietly talking,
we walked on beside the river,
her hand tracing the one palace,
the intricate curvature of the air
housing us all.