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The Floor Plan of the Taj Mahal
by Francine DuBois

For Matt

he draws the floor plan of the Taj Mahal
with ice cubes on her back:
reflecting ponds in her lumbar region,
towers spiraling heavenwards from her shoulder blades.
that knot in the center of her back becomes the tombs
of the shah and his first wife: the hard, tense bundle
like an eternal, faceless shroud of marble.

as he writes passages from the Koran
down her spine with his blue-collar fingers,
she wonders if the shah ever did what really mattered
if they ever spoke, if they were in life as they were in death:
sealed, separate, stoic, silent.

as she finally eases into the twilight stages of sleep,
the curry-colored sun reflects off the water on her back
and the east fades into dusty indigo night.

Francine's Version -- Hezekiah's Version -- Inspiration
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