why I burn incense

why I burn incense
the seller of scentsindia-utah-07-471
in the Mysore market
assured me:
only the best
sandalwood sawdust
mixed with honey
hand rolled onto
a sliver of bamboo

when I strike
a match
to make an
ember glow
on the tip
the smoke
goes straight
to my nose
inspiration is

a poem, a song
a solution to a puzzle
a prayer
breathed out
soaring over circumstance
now can I doubt

Market in the south Indian city of Mysore

heaven will hear

and then I inhale
only deeper
the seller of scents
his sad eyes
meet mine
only the best
smoke rising
in roundabout rings
into the invisible

sooner or later
the ember is spent
the scent lingers
like hope
after a kiss

Franklin Abbott
22,23 February 2008
Stone Mountain

The market in the south Indian city of Mysore is one of theindia-utah-07-473
country’s most famous.  Mysore itself is famous for sandalwood and produces the best sandalwood products in the world.  The market is vast and I was looking for a spice shop owned by the family of a friend. He told me it was across from a perfume shop.  It was but not the one where I met the man in the picture below. He gave me chai and told me stories, filled my nose with one scent and another describing each as “only the best.”  I bought a few vials of oil and he gave me a bundle of incense, “only the best,” he said explaining how it was made.  I took his photograph.  You can see both his charm and something melancholy in his face.



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