Red dirt covers
The sunset path.
I looked back
Over my shoulder
To see the sun
Fill your eyes,
And I watched that gold
Slide down your cheek
Before I turned
To see the sun slip
Below my sight.

Now my red path
Turns grey, then black,
And I walk alone
As the flame hangs
From my hand,
A light so heavy,
It makes me smile.

My feet tread
This way, clay on clay,
Yet I seem to stumble
Through your stream,
And it makes me smile:
Wet rocks look so soft.

I swim now
Through your eyes,
Though each stroke
Stokes the fire.
How those children
Would have laughed
To see a drowned man burn.

Above me I see
Star-feathered flocks,
Like swarms of black bees
Trailing their queen.
They murmur rumors
Of choices, yet
Those crystal-cut canyons
Feign their freedom.

Instead they glide
In prayerful circles
Over these bones.
Their arcs soar high,
Tracing their own frowns.
And the wind will pluck
A feather, maybe two
To drift down before me,
Grinning black daggers
To remind me of my crimes.

And I wonder,
Whom have I killed to live?
Whom have I saved by my dying?
And would this be the sky
I’d see, had I stepped
Two strides aside?

I am your ghost,
Yet I’ve not forgotten
How the mud felt
Under my nails
When I dug these valleys,
And molded these hills.

I was your child at play
Who now cries
To find you
Here in these tears,
As he treads this night
This red earth.

The sky between sighs
Will brighten,
And your white cloth
Shall turn gold
In the dawn.
And your soft hand
On my head
Will crush these fears
And set those birds free.

I see that eastern bloom
Now, in my heart,
Even as my marching feet
Struggle blind to climb
The muddied stem.

And I hold onto that gold
That fell from your eyes,
And feel your presence
In our parting.
And I swallow
The bitterness
In this joy,
And in the dark silence,
I begin to sing.

-Swami Ambikananda Saraswati