Devi: The God­dess

New England Review - - Cultural History - El­iz­a­beth T. Gray Jr.

As Durga, she is dif­fi­cult of ac­cess. As Par­vati or Uma, daugh­ter of the Hi­malaya. Also Gauri, the golden one. And Kali, the black one, or time, when time is a woman. This is all the same force. Black against. Cloud and snow, in­ac­ces­si­ble crevasses and couloirs are Nanda Devi, bliss-giv­ing god­dess. Maha Devi, great mother. Shashti is sixth. Six days af­ter birth she in­jures chil­dren and be­fore then must be pla­cated with fast­ing, gifts, dis­trac­tions. The god­dess is here in­side me, I can feel her kick, said poor Gisèle, gaunt and preg­nant by the fruit juice stand, my mother might send money but I can't reach her.

I am the golden child, and share my lord's aus­ter­i­ties deep in my fa­ther's moun­tains. Ab­sti­nence is the power be­tween us. Gold, black, pre­pared to in­jure, my body heats the cold wind.

All of this is dif­fi­cult to ac­cess, dif­fi­cult to ask for, like sex, Latin for six.

El­iz­a­beth T. Gray Jr.

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