Mandarin by Taylor Graham
Heels of hands on the tablecloth.
We’ve passed platters scraped of sauce
and here’s some scraps to take home
to the dog. We’ve finished the healthy
pot of jasmine tea and spoken
of the grandmother who died last week.
On the wall above our heads, boats
float soundlessly down a painted
river between strait bluffs.
Are there people in the boats? or
in the tiny single houses, one
per island? In the painting, no more
houses than people at this table,
an island in a room of murmurs.
All about us, people drinking tea or
resting heels of hands on tables,
speaking of passages while lifting
hands to serve or bless or
explain, people simply waiting
for their fortune.