The monks of my father’s God wore orange & smelled
like matted hair and sandalwood. They were extraordinarily calm

& not quite there. As in, their eyes saw deeper, their throats sang lower.
They would stream into our home on warm Texas evenings, beards

arousing suspicion in the neighbors, for we were the colorful ones
on the block, with hair spun from marigolds, skin made of almonds.

They would chant & dance in our living room, arms waving like paintbrushes,
& I, half their height, was made to join & recite ancient words,

following the flicker of their robes with gaping eyes. I would not realize why
they wore orange until, years later, a spiritual wreck, my third eye muddied

by daily ablutions of whiskey, I scoured the memories of my remaining senses.
The smell of coconut and camphor. The bite of earthen smoke

the night the neighbor demanded to enter. This will be quick
if you have nothing to hide. How quickly his investigation halted

in awe of our blissful monks, who were not quite human: more like fire,
they flickered as they danced, their thousand scents escaping through the open door.



Rishika Batra