1. Here’s a man whose legs below the knee curl into smoky tendrils of flesh, who pedals his wheelchair bicycle with his hands; and here you are, with your excess of limbs, trying to fit yourself against the body of your lover. The sweat which coats your skins in bed is also the river destroying the road — willful helpless froth churning the land to ruin while giving suck to crops, unrolling lush green tapestries: ravage and redemption in a single swell. Here’s the problem of love, and its desolation; here are the leper’s tiny scalloped palms — all of her fingers are gone — clasping together the coins you give her; and here’s your lover, asleep now, with daylight splashed over her cheekbones, spreading to her forehead, stopped by tender hairs. Sometimes it seems wrong to love one person and not another — to love one instead of another — though you tell yourself it is all you can do; more light, beam polished like an apple, shines on her uncovered shoulder; her arms are defenseless in sleep, like a swimmer held still in the water; bare, nestled like just-born mammals; her mouth slightly open, her breath slowly keeping beat. As long as she sleeps your eyes wander the kingdom of her; we are always beautiful when we sleep, when what is hard or frightened in us — they are the same thing — reverts to unconscious grace. It is monsoon. It rains as if the world were only rain. When it stops, the streets are raw and clean; even the mud is clean; even the sky seems exhausted and grateful, its grief turned into such a flood you could strip off your clothes and bathe in it. The road is disappearing; its stones are being pried loose, hurtling downhill to land in other rivers; later they will be gathered, chopped by hand, lofted on women’s heads; brought somewhere else, to do some other work. 2. After your fine meal, you package up the food; in this country where people are hungry in the streets, you say, it is wrong to leave bread on the table — your waiter smiles indulgently at this. You carry the food out into the street, you mean to eat it later; when the girl in dirty rags, holding a baby in her arms, approaches you, points to the food, and then her mouth, her stomach, then her baby’s mouth, you say No. Walk faster, make your body rigid, slide your eyes away. (In your heart there’s an old leper whose fingers are gone, who holds up stumpy lumps of palm, whose pain is visible; in your heart there’s one who sometimes gives to her — though never too much.) Passing at night by rickshaw through the old city, where men sleep in their splintered carts, you see one, wearing only underpants, splashing his body — each perfect limb — in a common fountain. It isn’t a lie to say he glistens with muscle and promise, with not-yet-vanquished possibility. No lie to say love still might save you, if anything can; nor to say you will turn away often; you will falter, fail. The rain will fall. The roads will vanish, stone by stone. Your heart will flood. Somewhere a field will grow.