Shiva’s ash

This morning we imagined how the bodies might have thought, laid end to end, on the Manikarnika river steps. Beside them was  a pile of wood that would not burn rains and was mere smoke.

From the boats we thought what the bodies had thought before they would burn. We thought how Shiva’s ashes spread on his blue body ,as a black  soot colored the sunset brown of his temple. We then thought how the wood felt to burn their trees, why it had to burn with bodies. Why Shiva had to smear his body with our ashes.

By  river of our boats and marigolds,
Our deaths sleep on wet river’s steps
Amid slow fires as soot blackens sky.
We wait patiently for a turn to burn.


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