While my family wasn’t heavily religious growing up, I was surrounded by Indian culture everywhere I turned. It lived in the books I read, movies I watched, food I ate, parties I went to, people I knew, and language I heard spoken. Therefore, despite living thousands of miles away from my home country, I was tied to my ethnicity in a way that many Indian Americans weren’t.
[Read Related: Exploring God And Religion Through Poetry]
This led to an idealization of Hindu gods and goddesses, and the desire to emulate them. I was, particularly, drawn to the goddess Parvati, the centerpiece of “Finding You.” This mother goddess, married to Shiva, was a vision of grace, purity, and clarity that I only hoped to achieve. Yet with every prayer, the desire to emulate her magnetism grew less and less as I began to discover my own path.
As the ceiling lifts and slopes under a blanket of
rehearsed bhajans the sky domes to a
manifestation of worship and proposed peace
Crushed rose petal ground feels more blood-stained to me
Cautious treads as I
cower from watchful eyes and proposed peace
I make my rounds I lift my fingers to their clay their airbrushed skulls
I always come back to you Parvati
hands magnetized in sacrilege
as I will your being to spring in me;
branches reaching in my limbs flowers finally sprouting
When did my roots become worn with falsifications Shakti?
Your aroma billows in taunting waves,
forces solemn repentance as my beady eyes meet
your earthy almonds quivering lips blend into blackened skin
illuminated under your ivory.
They said you knew when to sit quiet
remained pure & faithful
under wolfish eyes glazed with lust
They said the forest embraced you as its spirit
a placid picture of meditative perfection for them to feast upon from afar
Parvati, I entered the forest and lost my way howling and still unearthed
When I finally lift my hands are cross-hatched
with flooring imprints and your echoing whispers
enough to keep me tethered to a promise that Moksha
is found in finding you
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