And in her seventh year of penance she stopped writing,
words sacrificed half-formed, thoughts
this her puja, since her breath
had never been worth offering.
—Is that how it is? The story spelling itself
weaving together, the only dance
the only me
I still had, did Agni dance it to ashes?
And I should smile and hope you like the smell
enough to grant me my superpower, is that it? Endless strength,
being male, not dying inside or out but ripped apart
on the man-lion's lap, is that the goal? Believe
the caste priests' lies
and keep wishing? I want nothing
Am I the scribe, breaking
or the breaking tusk?