This is how it will be:
we will take a walk on concrete, not blue tiles,
and you will pretend to be disappointed.
This will have the quality of a ritual.

In the morning, the sun will fall from the sky;
we will protect ourselves against its fire.
It is not so unbearable, but we have learnt
to be wary of arrivals from the east.

We are unbeautiful here;
our stay in the plains has rendered us so.
But whispers now carry endearments,
and we will not have it any other way.

Outside the chapel, we will collect ourselves,
then enter the bowels of this benign shell.
Nothing in here threatens us. 

We will pull out our offerings, crisp and new.
This time they will go where they are intended.
The pilgrims are less urgent now. And slowly
the shadow of the deity gains its substance.

In the temple’s deep, I will
speak my name for you.

Originally published in Indian Literature September/October 2011

Temple
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