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A woman sitting in a chair at Hawa Mahal (Palace of Wind) in Jaipur, India. Photo by Eliana Rothwell (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest Finalist).

Makar Sankranti

Snapshots of two and

three thousand diamonds dart

into the clouds, enemies

in the sky though friends

at the end of the lines.

Dotted sky blue but dying red,

ready? If not, go below

the din made of

music and lanterns that soar

while slashing strings dance

like hundred-meter tiptoes.

Ten million baskets of

fire float in breezes

too strong to carry the birds

safely home,

so we walk the streets

where glass used to fall.

Thunder of a thousand

simultaneous explosions

echoes against the crags

of generations all dancing

on the roofs of their home.

You try now, tug

when the nose is towards

the setting sun, now

lower than it was

when I used to

fly kites all day.

Kaleidoscope sky against

white, rolling, smog;

more shards of translucent paper

than build the cathedral

windows of my vision.

Tonight the family across

the road sings karaoke

and the lantern that fell

burns slowly

in the fading light of January.

Jaipur roars together

at the light now dimmed

but full of explosives

illuminating the rich

and the poor with

the same impermanent flashes.

Photo credits: Ziv Batscha, Sarah Messner, Peter Scharer