Thursday, December 07, 2006


Thanjavur Brihadeeswarar

Stone, bald from piety,
Burns the soles of unshod feet.
Snaking through the lamp-lit alley,
Offerings and flowers arrive
Through the centuries
Ending here, this year
Small, tawdry, and plastic.

Little surprise then, that
Sweeping dead dust and dry leaves,
Into a prayerful mound, his spine
Curled and knobbed like a rosary,
He asks me in--reflex hush--
(While still in plain sight of the idol)
Is anyone else here?


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