my bare feet move across the marble with its cold seeping into my body, my fingers tracing the engraved patterns on the wall,
rousing in me a sense of fraught forbearance of where i am;
i listen to the tune of suprabhatam being chanted nonchalantly in unison, with the periodic tick of the rosaries being told,
the tune i grew up to,
depicting the faith of all these people; a faith i know i can never share.
i reach the heart of the temple,
and press my palms together on cue –
the lightening of the camphor and clanging of the bells-
why i’m doing it, i know not.
what i’m respecting, i know not.
i just know it’s what i’m supposed to do, it’s what’s expected of me.
my mother hisses,
and i bow down with my ankles joined and touch my forehead to the ground,
and try to mumble the sanskrit verses i’ve been taught,
but they stay stuck in my throat, refusing to come out;
i’m shrouded in delusive silence,
nothing like the indecisive chaos inside me –
i want to pray, i want to believe –
for my culture, for my family, for my mother,
but i know,
my spirit would never cross the
t h r e s h o l d