Deep in those glowing gardens
where wet leaves flame with torchlight,
Sita listens. Her face shines
with scooped water.
The demon king speaks
of Lanka, his golden city,
blinding in daylight,
that by night binds the eyes of jealous stars.
He speaks from ten mouths,
mouths whose silence once
stilled the universe’s wind.

When the demon king pauses,
saltwater brooks weep
in exaltation and in fear.
Sitting in the shade of the Ashoka tree
Sita smiles. With naked fingers she traces
the stars’ dance, and listens
for the crumble of stone.