anoushka kumar"FAITH, OR MY CONSTANT LACK OF IT"
Some seven a.m. bus ride leaves you disembodied. A little shard of
babyhood leaks out through a towelled-seat, when best friend
says atheism, she trips over a stop sign / leaves things behind; doe-
eyelids and a noose around stucco + a hunter's lattice.
A summer stillness shatters. A deer steps into a water hole.
You like the way she whirls infinity into incense sticks &
when it is time to pray, this fury's haze will be worse than
a continent's travesty. Because it will dance and tantalise
and elude like Notre Dame's spires where a townhall's
cerecloth lies embossed in jasmine. Here lies a beating heart,
steady and full of life & love yet it holds blood close a
cyclist's pump at a sorrow's gas-station: pay to enter. Child,
your hands are blest now; they reek of sandalwood, petite
squares and petite shoulders steeped in butter,
clarified into a seraphim's glassy eyelids. Say we
are copper on copper on glassy pupils, infants
fed on jute mats and bamboo-carved from demure
crevices. In church, we step over a patriot's
grave and skip-a-step into a lisping choirboy's
tear-stained robes: he gives us a hand. To the
altar now, waxy heathens & a peony's train.
Strength and heavenly grace, in a forefather's
stained glass window we see cherubs dangling
from silver-leaf chandeliers and grief in a mother-
of-pearl's pew confessions. My mother speaks
a different religion: of the orient; where a young
monk spins prayer wheels and makes a home from
heather and cracks an eggshell against futile wars.
I wring my hands on a moss-holed tombstone
and spread gardenias around a priest's throng.
Wishing for clear blasphemy, a sliver of devotion.