Saraswati Puja

The Iowa Review - - CONTENTS - Kazim Ali

1.

On the train we knew nei­ther when we would ar­rive nor the name of any sta­tion along the fog-laden way.

The taxi driver lied about our ho­tel be­ing full, stop­ping in a dark al­ley. I in­sisted we drive on, but the way was blocked by the Saraswati Puja.

A street full of men, stripped to the waist, danc­ing like houses on fire, head­ing down the river.

One took my hand and pulled me to him, but we pressed on through the rick­shaw-mounted speak­ers, bass line of the strobe-sworn mantra thumping.

Our ho­tel clerk claimed it re­ally was full so the taxi driver found us an­other.

You leaned out the win­dow of the room, snap­ping pho­to­graphs of the puja-rave.

I hud­dled on the bed, the racket of the train on the tracks still hiv­ing in my ear.

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