Deities sat perched on temple parapets,
concrete birds gleaming in the Georgia sun.
Within those walls I would discover
that God wore different masks.
A priest chanted mantras in monotones,
breathing life into stone.
Ganesha staring out from his enclave–
black obsidian born of earth extremes,
Curved trunk, single tusk
swelling from girth of universe
Adorned by a garland of chrysanthemums,
crown of faux diamonds
I drank water infused with cardamom,
Ganesha’s blessings spooned into my palm.
Around me, devotees swarmed, hypnotized
by the numb flames of oil lamps.
Inhaling and exhaling the pungent incense
that replaced oxygen with god.
Sarath Reddy enjoys writing poetry which explores the world beneath the superficial layers of experience, searching for deeper meaning in his experiences as an Indian-American, as a physician, and as a father. Sarath’s poetry has been published in JAMA, Off the Coast, and Please see Me. His work is forthcoming in Another Chicago Magazine, Poetry East, Hunger Mountain, and Cold Mountain Review. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.