In Kerala, in winter,
Haripreet the wood worker
stands, observing his great fortune,
to have lived so near a treasure trove
of the most excellent of carving wood
Harichandran, who could ask for more?
Haripreet knew this wood intricately
that it was the most fragrant wood,
a wood which only sweetened with time
and whose attars and grain were worth gold,
for in it, even as a boy, he’d discovered hidden
every image of creation’s wild wonders
tigers, flowers, and elephants.
There was in his shop, one intricate figurine
the work of his grandfather, Didi,
which had served as a template
and which stood untouched in an alcove
Indeed, it was Didi’s best work,
Haripreet spoke reverently of the masterpiece
even as his father had spoken before him.
But why is it here? Why has it not sold?
Haripreet responded always politely to customers,
The one who commissioned it. To this day, I must tell you,
he or she has never returned to collect it.
And so, the Jesus stood. A mystery. A sweet aroma.
Haripreet’s lovely wife, Sarita, finally begged an answer.
Why do you simply not sell it, my husband? Could we not benefit?
Perhaps we could make a fortune and travel the whole wide world!
I do not sell it. Because it is far too difficult.
I cannot settle a price. For who can know the cost?
So, the Jesus stands in Haripreet’s shop.
And overlooks the morning hills
© 2012 S. Michaels