Pool of Nectar


Forty water buffaloes escort me
through a chaos of broken hills,
chickens, goats and greenery

to the end of Pakistan
where I pay a bribe of two Bic pens
and enter Mother India.

As devotees tramp past
heading east, seeking gold
in the Pool of Nectar

a rickshaw wallah's grin
beckons my business
and we trundle into Amritsar.

At the threshold of the Golden Temple,
I leave my Gore-Tex boots with
a thousand plastic sandals, aware

that crows entering the Pool of Nectar
lose their blackness
and shining swans emerge.

Lepers and amputees undress fear,
cripples and crocodile Sikhs
disrobe doubt

then dip their faith
in the rippled blessing
near the trouble-healing berry tree.

Pilgrim wallflower, I stand
to the side
unable or unwilling to join

the cool immersion
the slow sinking, then dispersal
in the Pool of Nectar.  
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