Bathed in the yellow glow of a hundred
lighted lamps, she smiles at them—
the ones who drape her in shimmering
red silk, embellish her with gold
and fresh garlands, shout her name
in devotion, roll on the floor for her
They ring the bells, embalm sindoor
on their sweating foreheads, bow, leave
to rape their sisters, burn their wives,
abuse their daughters, insult their mothers?
In the darkness of her sanctum, now closed,
the Goddess cowers behind her seat,
weeps in fear and agony, the air inside
blackened with the smoke of her hair
smoldering in the dying fire
from the last burning lamp.