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Anuradha Mahapatra


I have never seen God. When I see temples I think
Of Hiranyakashipu the demon king,
And when I see an image worshipped
I think about the daughter of the house
Being sold for cash. Offering one faded life to another.
To see blood coughed from the mouths of the bloodless
Is the final joke.

Still, when I saw that fellow
In the grimy blue-black tee shirt on the tram,
Straight as cast-iron cannon, I wished he were God!
Then at least I'd have gotten a proper place to hide,
Or I could have pushed him
And even if I'd killed him
It would have been love.

Nowadays when I step onto the running board of a bus
I think of God.

Translated by Carolyne Wright


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