INDIAN LOVE SONG Drenched Renée Gregorio And did I go to the ends of the earth with you? —I did. And did we ride north on highway 47 to the Palace of Padmanabhapuram and touch the carved breasts of the gatekeepers outside Saraswati's chamber? —Oh, yes. And did we ride on nine trains, sometimes clear through the night, and did we learn from strangers that we'd met them before somewhere along a road, a river, a path, another journey in another lifetime, perhaps? —It is written, yes. And did we stand in the halls of worship for the Jains, the Hindus, the Muslims, the Catholics, and did you dip your fingers in the clam shell filled with holy water and did I press my ear against the musical pillar made of granite and touch its liquid song? —Together, all of this. And did the boy on the crowded bus slide his body over to make room for yours as the elder, not mine as the woman? —Yes, and we laughed. And did we eat idlis, dosas, sambar and coconut chutney till we didn't want them anymore? —Yes, but now it's hard to believe we were once sated. And did we watch men and women pulling tiny silver fish off the nets and into buckets for selling while the snakes writhed on the sand nearby, trying to find their way back to water? —We were afraid of swimming. And did the priest turn the mirror toward our faces so we could see the god within? And did we see it? And are we whole? —We were bathed with seeing. And did we understand there's no good or bad, big or small, only what is? —Sometimes we did. And could we answer the temple guard's question—"For what purpose do you come here?"— put to us aggressively then, with calm now? —Perhaps our presence would hold the answer. And did we eat enough prawns biryani, fish curry, Keralan parotta and fig and honey ice cream? —Never. And did we occupy different skins in the sea air? Did we make love like the ice cream, like the giant prawns—familiar in concept, but not in magnitude and sweetness? —Yes, we met each other as travelers first, husband and wife second. And did the early monsoon rains clarify us? —Of course, we were washed clean. And did we stand mesmerized by the mustard yellow house near the town's deep and ancient well, taking in the sound of a man practicing violin in the front room, the one most open to the street, how solitary and public he was, did we take this in? —It made us want to change the world. And were we happy where things are never straightforward? And did we go far into nothing to know everything? And did our bodies become eyes? ©2010 Renée Gregorio