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Lisa Ciccarello



I am watching you move in the temple made of sand. It’s a song.

I can hardly read the map through yr hair. I trust that you can do this. There will be time later to take it all apart. The sand is a song neither of us know how to speak. A question & rooms with rugs. Here & there the sounds broken up. I want to see the sand map & the trees outside the stone steps. I am going to do the only thing I can do: trust you. It isn’t a connection. Really. I want to see the leather tight around our feet. I want to see the temple you enter: go back. Here & there the rattle forgotten. The song to speak to. I’m trying to draw out the city &:

What I would like to do is to rely on someone else.




Under the town, a map


You see the temple & you enter.

There is the amber or jade light of the candles & the path you choose into what stone                                  room. The box there. Gold or jade or wood.

Is there a lock. Is there a key.

Above the hearth is a plate & bird. A pear & mirror & bird with its ghost made of rice.                                     The rice smells like a song under all that hunger.

There is a fire or start a fire.

The temple is a palace. You understand. Stones worn soft to shine. There is a wood                                       table in every room. The rugs are wool or the rugs are fur. Fur pulled straight off the                                     animal

& the animal unharmed. The animal to lay under. The field nearby. You’ll learn to tell.

You are in your room & it is unfamiliar to you. The house is dark but there is a hearth.                                    The water is dark but the lamps are lit.

Go back. There is a map on the wood table of the temple which

flames & flames everywhere.

A man roasts the bird in the temple & lights the candles in the candle pattern. All the                                    lights of letters in the right order. You could build the temple if you could build a ladder.

The temple steps are wool-wove & laid right down on the rock. You forget about the                                      bird & parsnip & pear. What was rice was sand.  

On the map the paths are brown. On the ground the paths are brown. You draw the                                      trees in the sand of the map. The grass where the grass has grown unspoken & where it                                      is field.

You walk in sand. The motion up & down. This is the hungry that is not thirsty.

You forget about the fruits when you pass them & berries & the hard shells of almonds                                      & even the wooden temple table. The rice goes uneaten, the offering.

To break apart. Draw a line & go back.




There isn’t going to be sleep.

Not the long sleep, the ship sleep, the dirt bed, there isn’t going to be a place in the                                       palace for you, a place in the temple on the wool rug or stone, there isn’t going to be a                                feather bed or a hammock or a simple sheet.

Only the cold wrists of the morning & the afternoon sun that keeps beating down hours                                 later. Yes it is still afternoon. It doesn’t matter what you have done.

If you could keep stepping forward it would change the hour, if you could accomplish                                     enough night would fall.

Complete the task & it will finally be the night where you could lay down.

Or you must do what the night asks of you. Under each moon is a saying you can read                                   with a telescope. Under each mast is a boat you must guard with your back to the fire &                                   the fire in your hands.

On each island is a temple in the shape of a forest. Who lights the candles in the temple                                knows that inside it is always day or night. The light means nothing.

Take the candle from the wall & you learn the song of the man who made it.

In the room where the moon shines in, or the sun, the temple keeps no candles. In the                                  stone rooms, he calls it morning & lights the candles. It will be day until the candles                                           burn out. Then he says night & the temple sleeps & he does not check the room where                                   the moon shines in or the sun. 

Take the candle from the wall & the song candles in your hand. Small moon to smaller                                    ghosts.

The light forms a line on the floor & you follow it. The light is a grid & a maze through                                     the temple.

The moon makes a series of squares on the floor & you choose one as your bed. You                                      want to sleep where it is light when you blow the candle out because this is the room                                  where you know it is night.




The hint is break it apart: cup & jar, barrel & lantern, box & larger, the bridge, the gate,                                      the vine, the stem of the enemy, the shield. Too the lock on the chest, the supports of                                     the shelf; the rock is a weapon but also to be split; the stick is a weapon

& to be burned.

What is the matter now.

Here is a jade vase—break it; here is a vase of earthenware—break it; here is an                                          animal—here is a stick; here is an animal—everything is hungry.

Make this animal to lay down. Make this statue to lay down. Make this door to lay down.                                 Make this map to burn the path out of the ground.

To make the map you must steal the paper; you must steal the feather & ink, you must                                 steal the light even to map this light by.

Here is the bag—steal it.




Something missing getting in the way. There is the ghost that speaks & the trees that                                    form a maze, the ghost that stands in the way, the trees that form the path, trees as                                   cover, a ghost that tumbles down to find you, guide-ghost in the tree blockade.

The song hunger makes. The fruit of the tree. The bird to eat as well.

There is one kind of tree on the map & the tops are cotton, but you must lay in the                                        sand.

The sand forms an oath. The sand forms a maze, removing your prints as you cross                                       them. The sand takes you down into it & you lose. Or you enter a kind of cave. The                                        sand is a door.

The sand is a bed & a door & sometimes a cave where a man waits with a box.

The box has a complicated lock. The lock needs an iron key. The box is gold or jade.                                      The man needs you to pick one of three.

The box is only a card. It will spring open at your touch.

Something is inside. Nothing is inside. Something is inside & waits for you to choose.

The treasures change inside the boxes as they pretend they are facing you. They pass                                  them under the table.

They wanted you to have this from the moment they first saw you.

The man only has one thing for you, no matter which box you pick.  The boxes move                                    around above the table & the treasure moves around below & the man asks you to pick                                  one of them.

You will have the right key. Touch the lid or the complicated lock. The box opens where                                   the key in your hand becomes your hand.




Where is winter.  The breath from the mouth. Where is the trees not green any more.                                    Where is the grass dies & the birds move somewhere else.

This time is not going to come.

The birds are hungry & the trees are full of pears. Why should the birds go anywhere                                      but to the fruit.

The circling sun. The unnecessary rain.

Fruit falls in the sand & the sand becomes bread. Fruit falls on the path & the birds take                                       the path away.

You hunger under these trees full of birds. You want to pull the birds down with your                                      hands like pears. To break the crust of them like bread.

Fruit does not appear on the map. All the trees are one tree. What map is this.

You break the box on the stone floor. The temple smells of pear & bird, but the boxes of                                     the temple are empty. You break the barrel but the birds are inside. You go to break the                                   vase but the vase is already broken.

Everyone is hungry & the fruit of it is everywhere.

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