Oyster Boy Review 14  
  Winter 2001
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» Levee 67


A Temple Pool Might Ignite Lotus-Blood from Your Heart

George Kalamaras

Not the wind in your hair but dying
carp. Each curl a curving inward
toward some damp sound. You ride the rickshaw
like finally getting even. You dream
you murdered the young man with too many
turn-left-here's and stop-now-there's, and felt
your life had closed. All night those spokes
had followed you to tea stalls, lassi stands,
even to the mirror you refused
to kiss. Why do you wake
each morning craving jack fruit, the bed-
sheets still raised several inches stiffly
above your waist? The wheel turns and turns.
Blood rushes to the open wound.
Empty spoke spaces shadow your thoughts?
Salt-blotched rubber thongs on a stranger's feet
are an unwound turban on a bed of nails?
It's a question of controlling your
passion, the yogi told you over and over
with his eyes, chanting some strand of sound
all the way from the Bhagavad-Gita
down into fruit pits dried as beads
in his hands. If the stirring in your groin
was rotating lotus light, a temple pool
might finally ignite from pure, gold
gill-fire. If you could swallow the fin-flash
of Kali's sword, pike Shiva's trident
as hooks in your heart, the bleeding might stop.