I hum “Mama” over and over
until the water dances in my copper bowl.
I know how to rub the handles
so the water rises like a fountain.
When I start my hands sting, like that time
I closed my fist around a wasp,
just after I’d learnt to say my name.
I shouted it to the long steep garden
of the children’s home. To the silence
like the wind across the Tibetan plateau.
I took the bowl you gave me and stared at it
until it was you. Until the other parents
pulled away in their cars and the drive
was quiet. And the children were asleep.
I lay on my bed, the poultice cold on my chest.
The air was dull and grey. In my fever
the copper gleamed like a meteor. The Yogi
forges his singing bowl from meteorite iron
which has barely burnt up through the thin atmosphere.
I held your gift until the stinging passed.
Until my forearms were flutes, my femurs, trumpets.
And the bowl was your skull. Five fountains
rose in star-formation. On the water
I wrote my name in words of clear light.