Triptych: Talismans

If I wrap this belt of bells
around my hips, each step
I take will sound the radius
of a warding-off spell. Come then,
hair of noble, bounding horses;
come, phalanx of brass hawk bells
heated in the mouth of fire.

*

At the height of summer, I stood
in front of ancient double doors
carved with a frieze of saints
and angels. But now they are our own,
all their blond curls and garments
plinthed in darkest wood— narra,
santol, acacia, yakan, almon
.

*

The sentinel led us out through cool
marble hallways, past massive curving
staircases and doorways to ornate salons.
For every stone, I counted the invisible
pulse. For every pillar, a catalog of names
erased. Beneath a tower, tongues knell
the surplus of what history costs.

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