Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu
No promise of grey in your hair, now basted
with damp hay. Your face fleshy, healthy.
You were young, rich. Hard to tell if you were good.
Nobody is crying. Where is your mother?
They, your cousins and uncles, dip your smooth
feet in grey bilge, the smog-trickle of Bagmati River.
A crowd leans toward the death spectacle
over a bridge that pigeons sail under.
Upriver, a woman washes her feet, carefully.
They wrap your dark penis in cloth. Each
touches your hair. All part of the ceremony.
Nobody minds when a tourist cuts in to snap
a pic of your face. Monkeys slide down
a temple roof. Boys hock a loogie over the ghat.
Nepali pop shrieks on a cheap radio.
They find a note in your pocket and examine it.
They lay a torch at your throat. Ashes and
butterflies issue forth. Sadhus – the dead ones,
cohorts of ghosts, stoned gods, thinking as stones
think – walk about as if lost. Your thighs
are ash, your robe butterflies. Your toes boil.
That which was dark and alchemical turns
to flies, butterflies, your thick hair smoke
and your eyes butterflies. Your foot is yellow
and your thigh bone surfaces. Hand open,
palm charred. Your ribs are revealed.
When two monkeys begin humping in the ford,
the crowd laughs loudly and without malice.
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