From the rickshaw in Mumbai
we gasped when we saw her— haphazardly heaped with hay-bales nearly double her size, dripping with afternoon light. Her driver rocked on the rippling gray sea of her, a skinny turbaned silhouette against the gold.
I think I rode an elephant once—
or was it only a dream?
Climbing the ladder with my two
girls, sitting astride her broad
carpeted back. I can still feel her
pitching beneath us as we clung
to the braided fringe and she bumbled
along her frayed dusty track.
But mostly I remember the top
of her head: a few hairs rising
from between fluid ears, a mostly bald dome—vulnerable, like an elder who’s given her all.
Surrendered now: I’ll go where you lead. I’ll rest in your shade. I’ll carry what you give.