In early morning the earth is silver; the air smells of sand and leaves. The sky breaks deep orange red, yellow, turquoise, at last the soft blue of India December. Sun breaks through trees with high birdsong and gold; black wings flash limb to limb. Where is this I sleep and wake? All the world is shaken, all the world at rest. In following the dream the universe opens with more dreams. How could I not have come? Baths in buckets behind curtains in a village stall clean more deeply than skin, more wet than tears. Eyes forever more young than age, more age than years, more time than lives. Echoes of earth, slow waves, ages passing, vibrate in stones, sand, bones. The bones of my body sit upon each other, sit lightly on the ages, leave no mark, no grains disturbed. Soft words form I do not always understand, yet know. It is the soft white air of breathing and the oneness beyond air that keep me under this spell which is no spell, which is no word and no song, for even my singing cannot sing here. Black wings flicker through high boughs, dart down. My fingers touch silver ground and life breathes through me, in and out.
© 1999 Leslye Layne Russell
"Puttaparthi, India" was published in mothertongued in 2003.