The Rickshaw Wallah Told Us


we should see the Taj in moonlight,
and full moon was out that night.
Thousands jammed the streets. We knew
they scanned long ponds
to catch that moon and love's
monument, orgasm captured once
and for all time in white stone (except
for refinery air, not visible at night).
And many trudged, no doubt, into
that tomb–of love remembered well–
to see by candle flame
where Mumtaz, queen much adored,
still lay beneath
her inlaid stone, carnation-red
carnelian, green stems of emeralds.
But we stayed behind in that cheap hotel
and later swore we saw it, Taj
in moonlit splendor.


David Ray, Music of Time: Selected & New Poems, The Backwaters Press, 2006.