We Consider Faith

By Dibyajyoti Sarma

We consider faith

Of course, you believe in gods, 
not your own, you have none, 
but your mother’s, she has numerous. 

You talk to them when you are in trouble, 
or want something and know you cannot get it.
It’s easy to blame them, but the conversations, 
always one-sided, seem pointless. 
You want to know if they can hear you.  

You like to think He or She, or They, 
(there are so many, you tend to lose track) 
listen to you, at least often, if not always.  
They must — your mother’s devotion demands it. 
All her life she had but one prayer — 
‘Make my sons happy’. 
Now, you demand, 
‘Fulfil my mother’s wish, make me happy.’
This, of course, they cannot do, you know, 
but at least, they should hear you out. 
You talk to them under the sky, 
not in front of an idol, 
where they are distracted by their very beauty, 
imagined by a poor sculptor in his filthy slum, 
or in a temple, where they are disquieted by 
the multitude of sycophants with their bribes 
of sweets and cash and piteous prayers. 

It’s easier in the open, though 
you tend to forget who’s who. 
There are so many of them, 
with so many departments —

you are never sure if you are 
talking to the right god 
at the right time, 
for the right obstacle, 
in the right manner. 

Of course, you believe in gods, and you know, 
they are as helpless as you are. 
With so many interpreters to relay their causes, 
they must be as wary as you are.

They, the gods, nice fellows, they went 
on an exile and now they cannot return. 
The door is barred in this world of frigid science 
and dazzling machines, where men took over 
and became divine, and you know, it’s a selfish 
nightmare, which now, we all must dream.

(First published in Book of Prayers for the Nonbeliever, Red River, 2018)

Dibyajyoti Sarma, is a writer, editor, poet and translator based in Delhi. His latest, a translation of Assamese author Indira Goswami, Five Novellas about Women, came out in July. He also runs the independent publishing venture, Red River.

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