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Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle

They see much, these statues standing guard at Goddess Kamakhya's dark temple; there's a nose lopped off here, an ear eroded there, by wind, by time, by swords. Now they've become nesting sites for doves that mate, rear chicks and shed guano on these timeless sentinels. They see cows amble around bestowing sacred dung, they see the fresh blood of sacrificed buffaloes. They still stand, these statues, their thousand-year silence covered with vermilion and ash. They see the rag-clothed pilgrims shivering in the morning drizzle or wilting in the noon sun not unlike the oleander petals and mango leaves that they bring as offerings to the tantric Goddess. They see the priests in red vestments; arrogance writ large on their pouchy faces. They see the banana, papaya, margosa trees shelter a sacrificial goat. And they see me, eager tourist trapping them in camera stills.


monsoon showers—
the forest bursts into flames
blossom by blossom

(Published in cattails May 2015)

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