(a response to J M Coetzee's Disgrace )
that ritual, David's daily penance
of carrying dead dogs to the incinerator.
Lucy's mysterious wisdom
of accepting guilt without flinching.
But do not try to tell me
that shame precludes desire.
That they cannot coexist.
Desire can be consecrated, pure
as blue fire, it can worship the beloved
yet not touch her with its flame.
Fighting Menka and her fellow apsaras
of desire and temptation
is the agnipariksha remorse must win over
A daily duel with these dancing apsaras
only strengthens my victory
and is my highest offerring of atonement
The twin birds on the tree of the gita are within me
one tempted to eat the fruit, the other watching
even if one succumbs to the fruit, the other redeems.