His reign concluded as it began:
A king’s blood loosed on the courtyard stones
In the kingdom of the invader
The servants of the exiled prince
Uncurtained an empty bed

War gongs and conch calls

The churned lake left a red film on shore
But in time the prayers and tears, too, subsided
Merchants went to market
The reservoirs were filled
The golden gates and towers start to rise

Our tuk-tuk puttered past stands of trees
Where barefoot women swept up loose brush
And dropped us by the path to a temple
Invaded by silk-cotton trees
With roots like a serpent’s folds

Cracked gods and tipped walls

We tracked sounds of a string band to a far court
The players all had lost limbs to land mines
Girls in gold-trimmed dresses
Danced their stately dance
From the cloisters, kids in third-hand clothes looked on

The spray of chandelier light on stone
A jazz quintet and an open bar
Stone lions at the foot of the stairwell
Wore top hats made of wire and scrim
We dined in an open court

Starlight and champagne

The tech fund had had a bad spring
But by August, some bets paid off
We sat down with light hearts
And when the dancing ended
And we went out to catch a cab
Across the square, the great glass towers rise ...