My rolls of film, now developed, scroll
Down that drizzling day again, the river
Unwinding itself between pinnacles
Draped exquisitely over themselves.
Bamboos drooping with mist crisscross each other
As we crisscrossed the river between villages
Dirt poor among rich orchards, rice paddies
And sweet potatoes only for the festival.
Once again I am being ink-brushed
Into a landscape more insubstantial
Than the mist where it is cocooned.
I am complicit in my own disappearance.
But the mud of that river walk clings
In my memory as it clung to my boots,
And I still taste the pomelo whose seeds
We spat in circles of laughing around us,
As the cruise-boats on the river klaxoned,
And you recited Li Bai, so that I heard
For the first time the pattern and rhyme
Of his loneliness and moonlit exile.
I put the photographs away in the drawer
Of my imagination. The gloss changes,
Begins to spin itself into a silk scroll,
Unwinding as my pen becomes a brush.