Corn piled high on a raised wooden platform
Angle wide to catch the light
through bamboo barely framing the shot

Were the half-hidden woman husking corn
or pounding chilies, I’d say so
She just sits on a thick wicker mat,

unnoticed, as the sun slouches forward
and the photographer takes in this unguarded stillness
and a family’s winter store of corn

before ascending the path
to the hilltop gompa with its promised views
and secret tantric initiations

Nine months later, the sun
no longer claws down the mountain
on slow stubby paws,

but scrambles in spurts
thru abrupt random smears and splashes
as, barefoot, the artist now

strays across a floor-wide canvas
like a stoned yeti, the trail to her lair
a clumsy transcendental blur

Then crouched and determined
she layers stiff black letters
above a lichen encrusted cave

filling in each spineless E
with three horizontal

red slashes
_             _

_             _

_             _

For the receptive, the yielding,
for our earth, she elucidates, or is it
hallucinates. Ruddy faced,

long tangled, black, turquoise bead-threaded hair,
a manikin in a diorama, haloed in neon,
the mountain woman, now mythic no longer stunted

stuck in the shadows,
thrusts her leg out, lifts her arms
With a burst of mantra

and splatter of Himalayan sun
in the artist’s stead transforms herself
into Lion-headed Mother!

Eye-balling all
who stand in her way
she whinnies

and snarls


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