April 4, 2013
Ashes of Desire

Flower buds will always remind me

of your puja, the little altar

you adorned each day with delicate

flowers and luscious fruits, the offerings

of a young man, to no gods

in particular, just worshiping

the notion of life as good.

You lit the candles

with such reverence, pulled your body

into the yoga position that best

held you as you chanted your way

to bliss. You smudged your forehead

with vibhuti, the ashes, you said,

of desire, and then simply closed

your beautiful eyes and breathed.


—Mary Sexson   (Marion County)

This poem initially appeared in A Few Good Words (Cincinnati Writer’s Project, 2012).


Mary Sexson is the author of the book 103 in the Light, Selected Poems 1996-2000,   (Restoration Press, 2004), nominated by the Indiana Center for the Book for a Best Book of Indiana award in poetry in 2005. Her work has been included in projects such as IndyGo’s Shared Voices/Shared Spaces, Arts Kaleidoscope, and Poetry in Paint. Her poems have also appeared in various literary publications, including Flying Island, Tipton Poetry Journal, and The Globetrotter’s Companion (UK).

Indiana Humanities is posting a poem a day from Indiana poets in celebration of National Poetry Month.

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