This is our element, silver-white
Almost mistaken for the moon

As it rises over Alameda,
Oakland, and Baghdad by the Bay.

Hue of the span itself that nearly
Saw its own demise when the earth

Shook and shook in ’89 …

Invasion, 1991

Beside the river, ash
rose like a funnel
in air, the earth cracked —
petrified tree roots,
the wall of an ancient city,
deep veins of lapis, arteries
of molten blood.
I stood on shore as the fish
inched out …

Ernest in Elysium

Why put the barrel in your mouth?
Why not the solar plexus, toward the heart,
or to your temple or one ear?
Why choose the palate to be burst apart
before you toppled over dumb-
struck from your favorite partridge …

Market Day in Emam Sahib

dusty brown bare feet puff
the tan dust as they shuffle
on, pushing
flat wood carts that carry
vegetables, sticks, cloth

carry the earth itself
from place to place
mud hut to mud hut
old lined face to old lined …

The My Tho Laundry

Yes these are mine
I carry them from shower to dreams
and sniff them in dark dawns
I find them in my food
they cling like cigarette smoke in hair
and clog pores like dead skin,
these gray stenches of …