The Fly-Whisk

The Fly-Whisk

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.

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