People rinse their hands and mouths before speaking
to you. They write notes that are passed on to you,
and you nod as you listen, drinking in requests.
If the shrine is the body, the deity is breath, moving
freely from the camphor trees to the hall’s high beams
to the shoulder of the man on one knee is the dirt.
You might mistake his concentration for prayer,
his steadiness and silence, the sincerity with which
he touches the camera. Deities accept photography
if words don’t come. You can have any piece of their visit
that pleases you: the orange of the school children’s shirts
as they flock through the gate, perhaps. Enshrined deities
have one foot at their grounds, one foot in a garden,
one foot in the sea; you have countless feet when
you are a deity, you are an infinipede, you have no feet
or legs or form, just visitors and reverence.