The Pantheon

Every landmark held a story, for instance the blue house
of the Tamil teacher whose brother was a priest.

They had a small chapel on the terrace of the house
an enclosure built with bamboo poles and asbestos sheets.

Rain pelted on the sheets during monsoons,
lines of anxiety on their faces held the chapel through.

I prayed too in the shrine in my home
among the pantheon of my gods I placed a plastic Christ.

I put a vase of plastic flowers, fake carnations and peonies
whose names I did not know as a girl.

Out of deference to the teacher who sent home cake every Christmas
my grandmother did not dismantle my shrine in her shrine.

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