in memory of Asifa Bano
So it was that on an otherwise fine day in Kathua
a band of devotees summoned the gods to action
with a lust so fevered that in this very village
gravity piled up higher than the Himalaya
with a weight that buckled into a black hole
from which even the gods could not escape.
Why, you ask?
No one can yet make sense of it.
Here is what happened inside a local temple
where events paused the flow of time.
Firstly, straight away the cowardly deity Brahma,
concussed, he claimed, from his own thoughts,
managed to slink safely away
to assume his favourite yoga position on a lotus
and secretly suck himself off.
So the cosmic dharma
—on this day a most important consideration—
was left to Vishnu the virtuous
who was nevertheless rendered impotent, again,
frustrated and kicking meekly at the locked temple door
pearly tears on his dusty cheeks.
For inside a girl lay on the floor
while Shiva the destroyer struggled halfheartedly
with an enslaved Hanuman riding his back
as the devotees smelling of daal and dung
jabbed the monkey with a cattle prod
they kept for these special occasions.
“Choke Shiva until his face is like Krishna
and I get an erection!” yelled the old priestly devotee
in a bid for intervention.
Another one, the youngest, attempted to summon
into his loins the spirit of Ganapati, the remover of obstacles,
for the strength to overcome the tiny hymen.
(Bless his soul the villagers would later chant.)
Which brings us to the dirty, catatonic eight-year-old
Asifa whose hymen it was, her skinny legs held wide
by the devotee of the Lutera Caste.
She had no gods available to her.
If she were Hindu she could of course
call out to the dharma queen Durga Devi for help.
But no. The Bakarwal girl was all on her own this day.
In any case, DD, a member of the BJP and into B&D
was conveniently tied to a bodhi tree
by Agni the fire god for some ritual spankings.
You’d think it’s a conspiracy! But for the irony.
The lawyers would be in the streets soon enough
Ganeshing their teeth, as it were.
But I digress from our epic.
Back at the red dirt stained temple
the devotees, angry that Asifa’s smooth sandalled feet
with henna flowers and little silver toe rings
had sullied their sacred Hindu lands,
brought the skinny Muslim scamp to the temple
to teach her a lesson
although they could only shriek a few slogans
while tearing her clothes off.
So they called for Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge,
to guide them in their teachings.
But she had long ago given up on men
and was a butch lesbian.
She had nothing to say to them
other than “Spit in your hand.”
They did, but their foreskins still pulled painfully
at the entrance of the stubborn vagina
no bigger than a prayer bead.
But finally! Finally! Proper blood!
A monsoon of slippery blood
that all in the temple had prayed for as a righteous sign
allowed the devotees to crash the gates
and steal full entry to their Nirvana
and they sang songs to Rama and their mothers
as they banged away as on a gong
at the membrane of the universe
assured as if by some fakir’s magic
that their karma was secured.
After each devotee, with high-pitched exaltations
had ejaculated his precious seed like a maharajah,
after an exhausted Hanuman ran back to his banyan tree
and Brahma reappeared outside eating a mango,
a weary Shiva finally said
with a sideways nod, Theek hai.
The devotee with the ascetically twirled
mustache and police uniform then
placed a thumb print
of that warm red virgin blood
into the cigarette burn
on Asifa’s forehead
and carefully encircled his hands
around the Muslim’s delicate throat
so narrow that he could join his fingers
at the back of her neck
and squeezed slowly
and ever so tightly
with such focus
that godhead felt
within his grasp.
But, alas, her soul slipped away
before enlightenment could be captured.
Suddenly, the strange gravity lifted
and the black hole closed
and within minutes the sun rose
city sounds returned
and the devotees went home disgruntled
to their purse-lipped wives.
Thus to the chagrin of the gods
the story of the cosmos was amended,
a new verse added,
perhaps a new veda
Jerome Ashmore Peacock is a Canadian poet. A pantheist and humanist, Peacock writes about the connections between the spiritual and physical in human relationships and the natural world. Subjects in his poems often include current events, nature, love, sex, and spirituality.