Before stepping over the threshold of the temple,
I take off my half-baked sartreian ideas
along with my slippers and leave them
at the corner where the old flower-seller sits.
My bare feet make no sound on the naked stone.
(The questions of skeptics and
the pockmarks of history
have worn it equally smooth.)
I indulge in a game of quick hopscotch
across the thin line of belief.
The air smells different on either side.
The goddess seems unfazed by my usual offerings;
I suppose even goddesses must get bored.
I make do with the warm smile
on the flower seller’s crinkled face.
She asks me if I want flowers in my hair;
she knows I always shake my head in reply.
A little boy delightedly tugs at the bell rope.
The sonorous clanging reverberates in my head
and touches a childhood memory.
It has the comforting ring of the familiar –
the sound of those things that never change.