Fire League

"Nearly everyone who visits South India returns with the impression that it is a land of temples."
-- Indian Ministry of Broadcasting and Information publication titled Temples of India

Ranjani Murali

Somewhere along a dirt path branching off of National Highway 7,
we saw the mud red as coals, lumped along

fiery streaks of caked vermillion spread across
the radius of a few hundred feet -- a black stone god

or goddess, perhaps, poised with a perfectly arched
back, clad in a green cotton saree with a fast

fading gold border. We stopped and got out of the car
and for a minute, the ash-smeared priests and other minions of this

divinity looked back at us, curious, the neem
swaying above our heads, the mid-afternoon

summer scorch staggering for a few seconds,
a slight breeze blowing across the path, pausing,

only to hear us say God, my back aches with this sitting.