Monday, September 29, 2008

Young Girl at Temple
by Michael Scognamiglio

Seven years, blade thin, big clothes, not a sin
Outside the Bombay temple, the markets pulse races
Hindi yelps in the air, quick gasps, blurred faces.
The auspicious day so the temple was spilling
Line winds serpentine, frantically and willing.
But even amidst the throngs of devotees
There was really only one girl I could see
Whispering Hindi to me.

Her hands on her lips, forming a bowl
“Please” she breathes, an arrow to my soul.
The pavement around her, piles of filth
She begged on her tiptoes, up like stilts

Her fragile fingers recite Mozart on my arm
Pressing and tapping and gripping, my alarms
Are blaring in my head, nerves on fire
Cause what I know I should do and what I know I should do are not the same

“Don’t even look at them” that’s what they say
“Shake your head, do not pay, shake your head, walk away”

But the Hindi plea she breathed, was like a sacred prayer
Her wet black eyes framed by untamed hair
As tall as my buckle but her gaze in the skies
Looking straight at me, straight into my eyes

Oh the crowd was a cage
They locked us inside
There was no avoiding this tragic collide
Like a minor note in a major key
She was all that I could see.

We pushed through the crowd, she kept right beside me
Small steps, quick paces, eyes fixed in a hurry
I slipped through the gate, she was stopped by security

But when I looked back through the wire
She was still there, watching me, forlorn eyes on fire.
Cause what I knew I should do and what I knew I should do
I still don’t know
Which one was right

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