Sage’s Puja

Having wandered the Lakshmi gift shop
With my daughter Sage, we end
Our ashram tour in the circular temple.
I stop at guru photos and bow, drop a dollar
In a plate, not personally knowing
The special gift or allure of these holy men,
Only their serious, black eyed gaze.
Sage, a newly hired Tacoma firefighter,
Pauses before photos and paintings, too,
Asks, Who is this? The Divine Mother.
And this? Babaji. And here’s Shiva, I say,
Knowing she knows only his Nataraja form,
Brass dancer engulfed by a ring of fire
Who roamed the bookshelves
And windowsills of her childhood home.
Having walked the solemn perimeter,
This woman who nearly burned down
Her bedroom twice before fully grown
Comes to the fire extinguisher
Near the door, taking its modern place
On a wall of ancient gods and saints.
In slow reverence, she lifts her hand
To touch the words Cold Fire.
Sighing, ignited, she throws a glance
At her firefighter fiancé,
Her smiling mouth beatific, aflame.


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