The Waterfall

this tale is made possible
on the boney feet of an old man
who walked to a waterfall
one winter’s day
in Hsipaw, Myanmar
that took him hours, and decades
taking a left at the noodle factory,
recognizable by the hundreds of racks
of long white noodles
hanging in the sun like baleen
in the jaws of a great whale
passed rice fields and gardens
streams and narrow wooden foot bridges
the Muslim and the Buddhist cemeteries
some gravestones crumbled
into the hollowed hallowed earth
some with portraits of the deceased encased in the stone
some randomly scattered
others in rows and files
like crops of the dead
passed the town dump
where trash is burning
and boys with sticks probe the garbage
and oranges rot in the sun
where the path crosses
over single log bridges
and the natural gas pipeline being built to China
leavies a nasty gash in the bleeding earth
and even strong oxen
have a hard time crossing
where dozens of butterflies
circle flowers and dung
all sacred
the land rich and red
the falls feeding dozens of small streams
that irrigate thousands of hectares of vegetables
on farms sparsely scattered
smoke arising from cooking fires
clothes hung on lines
children born to well-tended earth
a walking meditation of discovery, divinity
and a newly born ox calf
its mother still licking it dry
as beautiful a creature as you shall ever see,
not able yet to stand,
tended by a boy no older than ten,
comforting the mother
who worked so hard
to deliver her package
visited by hens with dozens of chicks chirping
waving leaves and grasses
smoke from sacred fires
bees and breezes
all of whom come to say welcome
as you do
all inspired by the voice of the falling waters
that i finally reach crawling on all fours
an infant in the ascent
over silty hard packed soil
dry, rich and fertile tasting
falls i will never see again
falls i have no idea
how i actually found
cascading down great tall cliffs
a symphony of water molecules
a chorus of falling pooling water
that draws me in and under
where i will never be again
and will never leave