Cremation, India, 1983

Flesh to fire on Friday
Freed those bones, that blood, to boil and burst
Upon the breeze.
(The elements engaged, dispersed.)

In joy the soul beforehand leapt,
And left this weight behind.
Life drank the juice, now flames consume the rind.

We three of youth and laughter so inspired,
Hit that foul but fragrant wall of smells that burning breath perfumed.
Reminded, turned our bikes and backs in silence road.
We much prefer to carry yet our load.

For we of body still possessed,
Caress our carcass carefully, and shudder in the stench before our sight.
“Not I,” we cry!
“My flesh shall never light the night.”