My sister Nritti and I, Ushas, we

weave darkness and light. She’s The
Night who comforts through
darkness, lifting it, letting it run
through her fingers and I’m The
Dawn, smoothing brightness
across the bed of the sky, arching to
tuck it into the horizon, awakening
life to life. She’s said to turn reality
into dreams and nightmares. I
reverse her flow, I demand the other
terror, action. Between the two of us
goddesses there’s not much to

Mythologies make out that chaos some
how is translucent, a lambent
litchi, its stone the sky. That’s rubbish.
But my sister and I, we’ve lived in myth,
we know each patch of earth
produces slight variations. Someone
loses wings here, someone else
grows a horn there, some
denizen of the sky dives underwater and makes
her abode in a cave of crystal lights.
That’s the way it goes. That’s the
it went. It’s different now, the world’s
gone global and my sister and I
co-exist, sharing domains.. You’ll
probably read this as a loss
of identity and power but
for someone who has lived as long as
I have, power is no longer an
interesting phenomenon.
Identity is another matter.

Identity and power are oppositional forces.
More that my sister and I ever
were, even when we were first conceived.
Nritti is first-born. She, the black swan
emerged from the dark
waters of creation, its
breath and being;
she ruffled her feathers
so that space arose
and from the collision
of molecules that fell
from her wings
light was born and
came into
being. Ushas, the white swan,
swimming in radiance.
Fluffing my feathers,
birthing universes
from disquiet. Stating separation.

I ask: who remembers the

moment of birth? Bet
you don’t, even if
you’ve put yourself through
expensive hypnotic pre-life trances.
No one remembers the
identity. For identity is always free,
even as it evolves. Confuse it
with power and you have what you have:
wars, all this blood and pain-letting. Floods
the universe like a womb bursting,

Nritti, my sister calls. She’s hungry

and wants to nibble on a few emerging
galaxies and she’s not sure if it’s part of her
or me. That’s power-sharing for you. That’s
got nothing to do with identity. Nritti,
I’m coming …


That’s my sister Ushas for you,
luminous and confused, always
doubting her existence though she’s
first-born, The disturbing Dawn.
Believe me — if you believe The
Big Bang Theory.

She came from nothing because
action precedes thought. Life
appeared, then its consequences
unfolded. Think back on your own
life, our supposed choices and
you’ll agree. One acts, and can’t
fathom the fallout anymore than
count snowflakes falling from a

life. Ushas and I, we’ve argued
about who came first since
the beginning of Time. I’ve even
told her: listen, it makes for
better metaphysics if you
initially emerged. Come on,
make people happy! But no.
She’ll toss her spangling mane
of feathers, rear and blur into the
distance as a fan of undulating
radiance. And I, Nritti, will
be left to seep space with my
soft spread, trawl the underbelly
of the cosmos for falling stars
and hush their hiss in my folds…
I reach everywhere; that’s a

the fingers of your thought.

But she’s got this right:
There’s no relation between
power and identity. That’s
mythology. Take my example:
for eons I thought I was my
effect, The Night, comforting
soldiers after battle and lovers
torn apart by reason, helping
thieves, terrorists and sewer rats
with my swell of darkness. But I
was wrong. I lie beneath my
darkness, painting; I am the stir
of silence, that’s my identity. As
for Ushas, why, heaps of men
were sacrificed to her earlier on;
she was worshipped as a man-
eating goddess. Well…maybe
she crunched a couple of hundreds
but she prefers dew, and look at her
now, her power done in by halogen
lighting but her identity brighter
than ever. She’s all metaphor.

The dark holds no terrors, it’s
said and I should know but
Time’s darkness is other than
than mine for Time has no
sister, no winged bird that frees
satellites of light from feathers
as she flies…. Time, that’s
the tough one. One day we
too will stop, my sister and

Ushas hurts easily. Which
is why I’m inviting her to
snack on a few newborn
nebula, hers or mine
doesn’t matter, and so
soak my black solace
through her bright
tenderness. Ushas…

tenderness. Ushas…

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