Shunaka: Blood Count

Karthika Naïr

Shyama, Sister, why
the need for dazed allegiance
to men? We’re canis
lupus first, familiaris
can come later – if it must.

Assurance befits
our kind more than reverence.
Remember, even
Indra – yes, him, lord of rain
and lightning, tsar of heaven –

could not command fore-
mother Sarama, divine
bitch, the dawn-goddess,
the fleet-one, Speech herself – she
that spins words into living

Earth and fades the night
with the glister of her tread.
Yes, Sister, Indra
had to yield, repent and beg
till Sarama agreed, stepped

in, saved his sphere, seat
and skin: those gods, ornery
buggers, would have carved
lush, new planets from his scalp,
had their holy cows (their sweet,


A Double-Income Family
Pyre