All things counter, original, spare and strange in Khujand, Tajikistan


You’ve made a brief beginning of it,

The Timurids would say

If they could strain past

Their lurid mausoleums

To inhabit the earth of our empire.

They would find us a puzzle if they did.

For we’ve got a world where

Even a street child in Kingston, Jamaica

Receives almost daily the glittering goods of the world.

Cloth from the looms of Asia

Made by the descendants of mighty Angkor

Covers him.

Shoes stitched by Han Chinese

to soles of Brazilian rubber

Coddle his feet.

His thirst is met by the sweet of Hispaniola

Tinged with the crazed spice

Of the Columbian coca leaf.

He is an ingestor of the world, this waif,

And he is the least among us

In the world made by America.

God help the great.


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