KASHMIR – BOOKENDS

A poem from my book BHAIRAVANANDA

KASHMIR

The force of the blow struck me just above the eye.
A liquid odor, heavy with thick salt, burned the air.

But I knew there was no blood.

The light wood bent gracefully under my draw.
The shaft sprung forward, my essence following after.
I felt the impact yet failed to perceive an injury.
Within myself I am a hard enemy.

Deep war drums began to sound, an ordered measure,
Like some huge stallion in motion.

The air began to warm.

The desert rose from the moist earth and drifted through me.
The air was still.

I heard the strings quiver and looked upward.
Three prey-birds floated above me a moment,
Then turned earthward.

One fell beside me whistling into the soil.
The other two struck me full in my unarmored heart, drove me down,
Pierced through.

The drums continued yet I failed to hear.

The mountain banner rose above me.

The air was still.

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