“Devi: The Goddess”
As Durga, she is difficult of access.
As Parvati or Uma, daughter of the Himalaya.
Also Gauri, the golden one.
And Kali, the black one, or time, when time
is a woman. This is all the same force.
Black against. Cloud and snow, inaccessible
crevasses and couloirs are Nanda Devi,
bliss-giving goddess. Maha Devi, great mother.
Shashti is sixth. Six days after birth
she injures children and before then must be placated
with fasting, gifts, distractions. The goddess
is here inside me, I can feel her
kick, said poor Gisèle, gaunt and pregnant by the fruit juice stand,
my mother might send money but
I can’t reach her.
I am the golden child,
and share my lord’s austerities deep in my father’s mountains.
Abstinence is the power between us. Gold, black,
prepared to injure, my body
heats the cold wind.
All of this is
difficult to access, difficult to ask for, like sex,
Latin for six.
This selection comes from Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr.’s poetry collection SERIES / INDIA, available now from Four Way Books. Purchase your copy here.
Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr. is a poet, translator, and corporate consultant. Four Way Books published her collection of poems, SERIES | INDIA, in April 2015. Ms. Gray’s translations from classical and contemporary Persian include The Green Sea of Heaven: Fifty Ghazals from the Diwan-i Hafiz-i Shiraz (1995) and Iran: Poems of Dissent (2013). Sections of the Tibeto-Mongolian folk epic “The Life of King Kesar of Ling,” co-translated with Dr. Siddiq Wahid of the University of Kashmir, were included in Columbia University Press’s Sources of Tibetan Tradition (2013) and appeared in The Harvard Review Online. Other work has appeared or is forthcoming in Little Star, The Kenyon Review Online, New England Review, Talisman, Poetry International, AGNI, Ploughshares, Beloit Poetry Journal, Best New Poets 2012, and elsewhere. She was the founding CEO/Managing Partner of Conflict Management, Inc. and Alliance Management Partners, LLC, consulting firms that assisted global corporations, partnerships, and governments form, manage and repair complex inter-organizational alliances. She is Guest Editor for Poetry at Ep;phany and serves on the Boards of Friends of Writers, the Beloit Poetry Journal Foundation, and the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. She has a B.A. and J. D. from Harvard University and an M. F. A. from Warren Wilson College. www.elizabethtgrayjr.com.
Jane Huffman is a current MFA candidate in Poetry at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a staff eDior for Sundress Publications. Her poetry is featured or forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Moon City Review, Radar Poetry, PHANTOM, Word Riot, The This Magazine, RHINO Poetry, and elsewhere in print and online. She lives in Iowa City, where she teaches literature in the University of Iowa English Department and serves on the poetry staff of The Iowa Review.