To the Two Women on the Facade of the 6th Century Hindu Temple at Deogarh

Eight men lie around you,
as you hold their feet,
brush their hair,
give them warm drinks to settle
the dust on their tongues.

Goddess or not,
you scratch their scabs,
wash their cloaks,
prepare their swords
for killing demons, their sons.

Vishnu births snakes,
and Shiva rides bulls.
You will wipe the sticky residues
from beneath legs, arms, hips

while the artist who carefully
incised your narratives, stares
upward, watching the universe
devour your share of amala fruit

and curried rice for breakfast.