By Sara Ries
In India, to greet, we’d fold our hands
against our hearts and say, Namaste. Namaste
along forts, mansions, and sand dunes,
beggars all around us,
chai and incense and dal,
babies with empty bottles.
Namaste, we’d say, and fill spaces between us
second syllables rising, then the falling to reach
another body’s shore. At home,
I say hi; it feels like a surge
from a firefighter’s hose
washing the person away.
So I miss the pressing of palms
slight bow of heads
as if nothing else exists.
SARA RIES is a graduate of SUNY Fredonia State and the MFA program at Chatham University, where she received the Best Thesis in Poetry award in 2009. Her first book, “Come In, We’re Open,” won the Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition and was published in June 2010 by the NFSPS Press. She is an artist-in-residence at Women and Children’s Hospital, hosts the Poetry & Dinner Night Reading Series at the Woodlawn Diner, and teaches at Erie Community College-South.