A ghost among ghosts,
I prize a baby's first
birthday candle
shaped into figure one.

Place it beside
an earthenware vase:
dark blue green
lit by a split moon.

Mournful strains
of Rabindra Sangeet
light up a face
behind veils of darkness.

A whispering night 
wind brushes against
door knobs, buttresses:
shadows of stained glass: 
shapes, angles, figures.

Gentle "yes" and "no"
of souls on wheels of fire, 
those who chose to die.

Like Kadambari Devi,
Tagore's close kin, lone
childhood companion:
a poet hidden
in the heart of a poet.

Or, mighty Bhishma
who could die naturally
whenever he desired.

Jude, the Obscure. 
He became thin like a sheet
of bleached paper before he
died asking for water
when no one near. 
Jude had loved.

Madri, the mother-wife
who died
on the funeral pyre
of Pandu, the exiled king.

Yudhishthira, Kunti's son.
A king who knew Dharma,
walked with his dog to
heaven and hell.

Cold rain in October
conjures a mirage in
halogen lights.

Rain falls like gentle grace
on actors' speaking bodies
wedded to Method,
rhythms of speech on blacktone
stone slabs.

It is midnight
in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
Laced ends of hoop skirts
drink up light reflecting

Stone has such fire in it,
it makes vapors rise,
dry up the stage.
Like ghosts, the actors
cast no shadows,
don't slip, don't fall.

What is my relation to this,
and where is my nation? 
What is my relation to leaves
that curled up early this year.

I wear a bright green sheen
with an "American Players
Theatre" logo.
It clashes with seasonal yellow
and red. Put out the light:
to bed! to bed! to bed! 


© Lalita Pandit, October 5, 1998

Priya - Summer rain - Bride in red - The city of dread
Sukeshi has a dream - The rishi

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