She is holding off her beloved with a fly whisk
this beautiful Indian woman who wears fine armlets
and in her ear a sprig from the tree of heaven:
a delicate action, whisk like a flame or an orange cloud.
Her half-smile of determination, we suspect,
might turn readily into a wide smile of joy when
the fly-whisk is dropped for peacocks
to scratch around it in the dust. Meanwhile,
her lover adopts a stoical half-lotus, hands
on thighs, leaning slightly forward, gathering
his amber sash as if it were a fly-whisk, or indeed,
the warm scented empty sari of his beloved.