The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “SERIES / INDIA” by Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr.

LizGray author photo by Susan Johann

“The Guru”

Listen, I am he who tells you:
follow not the person
but the words. If you follow
Buddha, if you follow
Jesus, if you follow
Muhammad, you will
miss him. Listen. Open to me
your body and you open
your soul to joy. So, all
is an offering. This, this is bhakti,
devotion, divine. If you follow
the person you will lose your way.
Was that it, wondered Andrew.
The woman in the worn green sari
scrubbing juice stains from the terrazzo
floor, from Syracuse, New York,
thought so. While it had been okay
for sweepers and pyre-makers
to be aloof yet rich
with meaning, blonde Louise
cleaning ashram latrines, green eyes
overflowing with devotion—was this
horrifying or proof?

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.

Jane Huffman is a current MFA candidate in Poetry at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a staff editor at 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.

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