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hampi, india

13 hours on an old bus from pune to hospet
torn seats
tilted all the way back
without option of pulling them up

many small water ponds on the way
in one pond
shepherds bring their cows into the water for a wash
in a second pond
rickshaw drivers bring their rickshaws into the water
throw on them buckets full with water
in another pond
truck drivers do the same with their trucks
making me wonder how the trucks
don’t sink into the mud
then a river
two people make their elephant lie in the water
while they scrub and clean his skin
his surrender brings him joy

arrived at hospet at 4:30 am
took tiny auto rickshaw to hampi
15 kilometers of roadless road

magical mountains
unexplainable rock formations
500 year old city
full with temples
some of them used to host prostitutes
whose job was considered holly
the current hampi residents live in
the ancient buildings

went to live on the other side of the river
only two people reside there now
tiny round bamboo boat that looks like a tub
is the only way to cross the river

living in middle of rice field
surrounded by mountains
banana plantations
palm trees
friendly water buffalo greets me daily
on the narrow path leading to my house

crossed the river to town
to have dinner and socialize
the boat stops running after 6 pm
made an agreement with the boatman
that at 9 pm
i’ll yell across the river for him
and he’ll come to take me to the other side

the boatman never showed up
been yelling for him for an hour
then a man showed up
saying he lives on other side
needs to cross the river anyway
he’ll take me with him
in this one boat that was lying in the grass
without any paddle

the man took off one of his flip flops
started rowing with it

the current was stronger than the flip flop
the boat got drifted down the stream
eventually making it to the other side
yet further down the river

hampi looks so beautiful
the impossible rock formations
mixed with the coconut trees
the juicy green of the rice fields
the erected temples
make it look as if it’s all
a landscaping project
for a las vegas hotel
that has never been
and never will be built
yet will always stay within me

© 2001. All Rights Reserved.
Zemach Zohar Wilson, Hampi India, August 2001

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