Playground Meditation

Its as if at twilight you’ve stepped onto a Fellini set, 
halos of golden light illumine miniature rainbows
refracting in the surreal slow motion steps of old men,
hunched over shadows creeping silently through clammy air;
a heat index like day time in Roma, but in this part of India,
a waxing monsoon moon has just begun to rise,

Grey beards who resist mortality, who revolt against nature,
who spit at the mugginess, make a beeline through the ardent nightfall,
piercing mist and mirages; sweating profusely,    
old men whose nirvana is tightly bound to a body,
who run at a pace at which the tortoise overtook the hare,
who quiver breathlessly for the ecstasy of the finish line,
hoping to outrun death itself by making an offering to the impossible,

When they were younger the congregation gathered here
under the watchful gaze of its wise guardian,  a Mother,
whose eyes wandered over this ochre playground
with the vigilance of a white-tale hawk, who; when their nest is approached
are airborne in a flash, observing swiftly the predator from above;
her protection was meted out through swift occult action,
intruders kept under surveillance, screech owls stopped from unfurling threats,
foreign worlds prevented from encroaching on the games of sun-eyed children

Once simple children who paraded lockstep over this playground sanctuary,
one arm over chest another outstretched before them
athletically pledging allegiance to the goddess nation,
but this still sticky evening a community of aging inmates file in for meditation,
initiates who long ago bargained away chance in the world, for a destiny here,
trading surrender for shelter, thought for a regiment of gymnastics and devotion,

After their ritual exercises they come here to sit and stare intensely inward
into an inner sarcophagus mind that houses the guru’s samadhi
but, the matriarch is no longer present,
her organ music replaced by the scratch of a distant analog machine,
darshan replaced by simulation, what remains is an empty chair,
a simulacra of enlightenment, a placeholder for a vacant avatar