Gigi looks around for anything reptilian. A helmet or collared lizard. An iguana. Even a chameleon. There is a terrapin perched on a small rock in the pond, a coterie of terrapins a few yards away, nearer the bed of tulasi. Not having a naga around is bad news. "Do you think Samkhapala should have stayed with the naga?" Her lover asks, his face bent down so low over the book pages, as if he's trying to smell the oldness, or breathe into the paper, almost purposefully. He takes a fingernail to scratch at a script, as if to remove a speck of dust to make clear the calligraphy. All the lines and curves have to be seen, have to bare themselves. No one here would expect the self-evident to manifest itself. All things have a form, and when these things appear, they are usually given a quick name, so they can be remembered, and called upon. Gigi looks to her left, and sees a Komodo dragon on the roof of one of the houses, the curve of its thick body slumped over the top, so it looks like a small mountain against the sun. It is breathing heavily, its back rising and falling, rhythmic like the women by the river, humming to a tune.

About the Poet

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé is the author of I Didn't Know Mani Was A Conceptualist, forthcoming in 2013. He has also edited more than ten books and co-produced three audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organizations. Trained in publishing at Stanford, with a theology masters (world religions) from Harvard and fine arts masters (creative writing) from Notre Dame, he is the recipient of the PEN American Center Shorts Prize, Swale Life Poetry Prize, Cyclamens & Swords Poetry Prize, Stepping Stones Nigeria Poetry Prize, and Little Red Tree Publishing Poetry Prize, among other awards. Desmond is an interdisciplinary artist, also working in clay. His commemorative pieces are housed in museums and private collections in India, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.