I never imagined they could be so close
behind the smoggy sky:
the bus stations filled with hawkers and
sardars on scooters.
On top of us all loomed a shadow
veiled 30 years ago, my grandmother says.
They had sent breezes to the brick-walled buildings,
they'd whispered through the busy squares and
while we slept,
laughed at our loud snores.
So many years in school but
they never taught us what
we saw yesterday,
when we woke up: the abode of the gods
letting loose their snow-flecked, silver hair.
They exhibit themselves because they know:
The buses will soon start running again.
The scooters will swerve their way to work.
Tourists will flock to Jalandhar to
see the havelis and the malls.
We will cover them again with gauze thick
enough to create a mist that blinds us to
beauty of all kinds.
And what will be left of this
one fleeting moment of peace
will be the stories we tell to our grandchildren: