1 You walk intoxicated in your splendid nakedness, heedless to my call. You walk on, through barracks and broken homes, taking the paths you took six hundred years ago, and vanish around the bend –
I am a five-year-old standing at your feet, imploring you to show me the Pond on your head, your walking on water, and all the things my Nani said you could do2 – but you simply laugh and walk on. You do not mean ill but I am hurt.
I find you in the family album, a presence hovering somewhere in the fading color photographs of my parent’s honeymoon, urging them to drink deep of this ancient land;
at least my mother did, and so brings you to me thirty years later in her early morning chanting, Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya
I am a young woman, standing in front of you as you sit with eyes closed, asking you to teach me the secret science of breath. But you do not open your eyes. You are gone when I close and then open mine.
Om Namah Shivaya
I close my eyes and begin to chant to your lord, knowing this to be the only way to you.
2 Om Namah Shivaya
In the infinite space of sound we finally meet face to face in our common mourning over our lost paradise.
And I can see you are in no mood for peace – Centuries of poise have shattered and fury has opened your eyes. The faiths your breast held as one have broken loose and your hair is waving wildly.
At the foot of the Shivalik hills I can hear your valley thunder deafeningly as your soul leaves the cage of your body to roar your naked song of rage and hurl down water from your pitcher as unending rain.
Enfold me, Lalla, in your arms, as the sound of the bullets rises from the valley to salute