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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.