Dust languaging stone, sifting over robes,
becomes what can't be cleaned away:

removal would damage the colors, jade and stately
red on a shoe's underside, peeking through

pleats. How many more years
before the grimy brownish grey,

not scrubbed and swept, cloaks the colors
completely? The question makes my lungs catch,

but this covering is a kind of care.
What, really, will be lost? My child,

told of the extinction of dinosaurs and querulous,
whispers at a dinner party, All these bones

in the ground are still alive
. He would
not care for these statues, whose placards

state their losses: a pagoda from
a palm, a heart from thorax and then a palm,

and my favorite, the long eyebrows held up
by hands
, one positioned so as not

to cut the line of sight
, meant to suggest
longevity. I have strayed somewhat from

the question, or perhaps the question
is: where does dust go?

What is the scale? Or perhaps
the question was covered before I could

write it down. In the afternoon,
when I return to the dark room, a honeybee

lies on the stone floor by the writing
desk; when I return after dinner, it is gone.