The prince insists
he’s too ill
to visit the shrine
along the ridge –
too dizzy
and possessed
by pining and lust
to take the risk
of bowing down
in such a high place
when his abdominal
rot has riddled and
curdled so that
even his concubines
beg to refuse
his lame advances
and tiptoe away
into their shaded
moist gardens.

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