August 29


Time waits for no one but the saint

and so the train delayed until

Venkataraman came at midnight

to take his seat.


Leaving his home in Tirichuzci,

he traveled for three days

in the winnowing eaves of August.

A handful of rupees, heart full

of God, he followed the path

laid out for him.


Lit from within, nothing

could stop him, not hunger,

not fatigue, not fainting

on the ground, scattering

loose rice like wild seeds.


Not thirst, though no one

would offer him water.


He was freeing the last

of his old life


– pears that could no longer feed,

two ruby earrings, every last

lock of his hair –


so he could arrive



Chilled to extremities,

he walked on, miles

piling up behind him,

Arunachula now breathing

inside as he approached,

burning and hollowed.


The boy who would be sage

laid down before his father,

saying, “I have come,”

and the rains wept tears

of the gods for three days,

as they sang, “Welcome,

My Own Son, Welcome.”


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