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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