Little Altars Everywhere


Some gods say, the tiny ones
“I am not here in your vibrant, moist lips
That need to beach themselves upon
the golden shore of a
Naked body.”

Some gods say, “I am not
the sacred yearning in the unrequited soul;
I am not the blushing cheek
Of every star and Planet–

I am not the applauding Chef
Of those precious sections that can distill
The whole mind into a perfect wincing jewel, if only
For a moment
Nor do I reside in every pile of sweet warm dung
Born of earth’s

Some gods say, the ones we need to hang,
“your mouth is not designed to know His,
Love was not born to consume
the luminous

Dear ones,
Beware of the tiny gods frightened men
To bring an anesthetic relief
To their sad

– Hafiz, “Tiny Gods”

Little Altars Everywhere


Bring me your pain, love. Spread
it out like fine rugs, silk sashes,
warm eggs, cinnamon
and cloves in burlap sacks. Show me

the detail, the intricate embroidery
on the collar, tiny shell buttons,
the hem stitched the way you were taught,
pricking just a thread, almost invisible.

Unclasp it like jewels, the gold
still hot from your body. Empty
your basket of figs. Spill your wine.

That hard nugget of pain, I would suck it,
cradling it on my tongue like the slick
seed of pomegranate. I would lift it

tenderly, as a great animal might
carry a small one in the private
cave of the mouth.

– Ellen Bass, “Basket of Figs”

Little Altars Everywhere


You would be meandering by
Wasting your while
This world is not worth living under the sky
If you haven’t tasted your soul water
Other delights will turn bitter
Open your inner eye
Feel the inner wind blowing
Inhale the fragrance
Listen to the sound of the water flowing
Become your own lover
Open the folds bit by bit
Use your innocence to see
Not your worldliness
That will make it flee
The soul water is pure
Crystal clear
Drink it
Drown in it
Anoint yourself with it

– Renu Rakheja, “Soul Water”

Little Altars Everywhere


When the smallness of my vision
Dampens all hope inside, I simply watch
And these clumsy feet keep moving.

When what could have been
Turns bitter and dusty from wear
I feel the tiniest move as a miracle.

When the bit is cold in my mouth and
When daylight reveals only a potholed
Road, just the sound of my feet can comfort.

Rising up from this pain is not grand or special
If it says anything it says stardust knows
It says come with me just one more time.

Miracles always have their own strange rhythm
To know them is to place power into the possible
And God is as surprised as anyone when they happen.

– Dale Biron, “Miracles”