Their footsteps formed the paisley when Parvati, angry 
                after a quarrel, ran away from Shiva. He eventually 
                caught up with her. To commemorate their reunion, he 
                carved the Jhelum river, as it moves through the 
                Vale of Kashmir, in the shape of the paisley.

You who will find the dark fossils of paisleys 
one afternoon on the peaks of Zabarvan— 
Trader from an ancient market of the future, 
alibi of chronology, that vain 
collaborator of time—won’t know that these

are her footprints from the day the world began 
when land rushed, from the ocean, toward Kashmir. 
And above the rising Himalayas? The air 
chainstitched itself till the sky hung its bluest 
tapestry. But already—as she ran

away—refugee from her Lord—the ruins 
of the sea froze, in glaciers, cast in amber. 
And there, in the valley below, the river 
beguiled its banks into petrified longing: 
(O see, it is still the day the world begins: