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The Sacrifice

by Preeth Ganapathy
(Bangalore, India)

I stopped, for a sip of sweet, tender coconut water
Beside the emerald green fields which was a sight to see,
In the oppressively hot, humid morning,
Under the great mosaic leaves of a big banyan tree.

Standing tethered to the trunk,
Was a shy, little goat –
It was a particularly dark shade of brown,
And had loving eyes on which one could dote.

I touched its soft body and hugged its delicate frame
And lifted it off its feet
I felt its hollow bones under the flesh
And set it down, when it cried a feeble bleat.

I then had the coconut spliced into two,
And laid down a half at its tiny feet
After licking the oyster white sap, at first, gingerly
It emptied this half, clean and neat.

Encouraged, I offered the other half.
I sensed an aura of sadness looming in the air
When the little goat turned away,
Foreshadowing future events, unpleasant and unfair

β€œIt had a mate, the two were close like the prongs of a tuning fork
The other one was sacrificed at the altar of the Goddess last year, late
Now this one is forelorn, biding its time,” said a villager blithely
Before it meets a selfsame fate.”

The shrill cry of distant birds reminded me
That it was time to leave, I cast a helpless glance,
The little goat looked at me imploringly, wrenching my heart,
I let out a silent prayer and decided to take my chance.


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