Shrift

Shiva—
my stepdaughter paid
a hefty price for you
in Park City
at the Yoga center
where she learned techniques
of balance and peace.

Traveling together
in a rental car
through Mormon country to Montana
photos show you riding shotgun
safe in your seatbelt
or posed
brass flame fanned and gleaming
on the hood.

In the Bitteroot Mountains
did you remember
your ancient self—
Rudra—
god of wind and death—
when you forgave nothing
as you razed the world to ashes
with arrows and
flames?

Shiva—
sacred hitchhiker,
passing through the western bible belt
where Jesus forgives
radio hosts, mortgage bankers
the carnal sins of Christian pastors
who are then reborn
again—just as you,
are always
born again.

I ask you Shiva,
what draws this girl
who will not forgive our trespasses,
to you?

Do you not Shiva,
as you tread
upon the hapless demon,
lift your other graceful foot
high in joyous dance,
and signal us
shrouded in the ashes
of our transgressions
to make the world anew?