The roof of the world hides ice witches,
Britishers dried and flayed by their own drives,
desiccating in the winds that die
somewhere among the Jharkhand dunes
where she stands, burnt and bowed,
reciting an altered Balkan prayer.
Barely present, possessing no future,
she is sorting the things of men
and things unbecoming
with the necessary sloughing of skin.
She's an ecology now, fog haunting ice,
or a poisoned river, sunlit only to love birds.
I regret the cult, now feckless
and beyond control.
I resent the copyright on her blue rimmed robes.
Reciting the names of the healed and dead,
I'd expect the end of disease.
I still do.