your inner sanctums as steeply set as
the cremation ghats by the Varanasi,
India’s holiest place:
women are disallowed here
lest they weep. fire does not feel sorrow.
lest they throw themselves in the flames;
women are not dragons
but phoenixes. your words
burn like sandalwood.
let me perish on the edge of your river.
free me from ceaseless search.
the cycle of rebirth is
a struggle to purge.