IMAGINING IS BECOMING
I always think I know
what is going on
but walking through the nearby field,
imagining myself –
pointing out the hawk’s nest in the dead
cottonwood, the stand of trees
where coyotes den,
imitating the meadowlark’s song
and the two-note call
of the black-capped chickadee,
explaining that, when the farmers release
irrigation water from the ditch,
the all-of-a-sudden pond will appear,
and frogs will be croaking,
duck pairs will nest and swim,
and the great blue heron will stand
in the shallows, its long neck
bending to the water –
I realize I’m imagining
being with my grandchild,
after her long, unseen becoming.
In the land that gave birth to the Buddha
and the dharma, the lotus and the mango,
two cousins, ages twelve and fourteen,
walk out under a moon still-new.
In a mint-scented field, they squat,
skirts billowed. No bathroom,
not even an outhouse.
Such a simple thing, a necessity,
a function of the body. But for them,
outside late in the dark, there is danger.
Mothers and fathers worry.
Are the girls alert to shadow,
snapped stalk? Or do they whisper,
heads touching, looking up at a sky
full of stars this night?
Do they wish for a new house,
a toilet, a different future? Perhaps
they are content. After all,
who am I to say. Yet I know this –
They are blameless.
But they are dalits. Untouchables.
A gang of men rape them, then hang them,
fashioning nooses from their scarves.
The girls’ bodies dangle
like dolls among the mangos.
Flesh and pit, single seeded –