Must I be prostrate before the gods and ring the bell and light some wicks to tell you and myself that I am a Hindu? To me it is a show, to think that 
God wants a pungent stick of smoke waved in His face and that He needs a bell to be awakened. That I like the smell of incense is another story, or 
that I light wicks to see them glow in brown palms like white diamonds.  And the bells; they're for waking up the sleeping priest, the one who dusts God's feet. 

Copyright 2001,  Shikha Malaviya. 

Shikha Malaviya is the publisher of Monsoon Magazine (http://www.monsoonmag.com), an on-line journal of South Asian Literature and Culture. Her work has been published in Chowk, Conspire, Gravity, Impossible Object, In Posse Review, Riding the Meridian, and is upcoming in Ariel, The Mending Wall, Bolo! Bolo! A Collection of Writings by Second-Generation South Asians in North America, and other journals. She is currently working on a second poetry manuscript as well as a novel. This poem is from a manuscript called Silver Bangles, a collection of poetry based on  experiences as a South Asian immigrant woman.