For you I ran ragged round India,
with bowl and stick and fraying bundle
I hauled myself through persimmon palaces.
I begged to swim out to you
at Jal Mahal, water pavilion
mired in mud.
At Chandra Mahal the moon turned
her face of ice to the pilgrim
clacking beads at the gate.
Shrieking in halls of victory and pleasure
I flew from a thousand broken windows
and for my pains, the weeping of maharanis.
For you I fell down
India’s secret wells, lugging bones
in the dark water chambers of Jaisalmer.
I was burned on the ghats at Varanasi,
came back as an elephant at Birla Mandir
at Govind Devi, the goddess consecrated my ghost:
you had returned me to the wind,
long since my words had been snowflakes,
My letters of love, my spectral songs,
I let them drift on the forest floors of night,
praying Krishna to let you find them
before the tiger did,
before the white mountain melted,
washing me to the Ganges.