Appeased, turning around
in place, then round the lingam,

round the shrine, round the temple,
like a child’s top running down,

Shiva’s disciple
stumbles onto the square,

abandoning at the temple entrance
the worn-through sneakers

he carefully set aside
on entering. Steady, with a swagger,

he joins the downtown yogis
sporting tridents and beads

authentically barefoot
smiling regally for the tourist cameras.

Framed, yet diminished,
by the immense black stone Bhairab

standing tall behind them.
From his eyes judgment weighs.

Within the near
white-washed walls,

jailed, well out of sight
till they confess

or bear false witness
the nameless

tortured prisoners


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