A Low Temple
A low temple keeps its gods in the dark.
by Arun Kolatkar
You lend a matchbox to the priest.
One by one the gods come to light.
Amused bronze. Smiling stone. Unsurprised.
For a moment the length of a matchstick
gesture after gesture revives and dies.
Stance after lost stance is found
and lost again.
Who was that, you ask.
The eight-arm goddess, the priest replies.
A sceptic match coughs.
You can count.
But she has eighteen, you protest.
All the same she is still an eight-arm goddess to the priest.
You come out in the sun and light a charminar.
Children play on the back of the twenty-foot tortoise.