In a dream, my mother
leafs through my diaries and smirks. A dream,
I insist, because in no other world would
she touch the thorn of my truths
without sacrificing her body first. That much
I can live with.
As she sleeps on the pillow next to mine,
her hair only half tied, I wonder
how of me she can claim possession of:
are these eyes, caught in the same slant, hers?
are these fingers, cooked long in her womb, hers?
are these questions, slipping
from neck to shoulder, hers?
How many times did she lay awake beside
her own mother, asking
to be orphaned? In a dream, my mother
fixes the corner of her elbow into mine and laughs
despite knowing. A dream,
I insist, because when my language collides
it does not bruise, does not return.
The truth of this must, the crux of this flux:
here, I worship what is not,
& there, I cannot see
outside the flesh
of the moment
here, he is not,
& there, I cannot see
through the veil
of those who came before him.
What irony exists between us
turns to rust
on our tongues, always so choked full
of (each other’s) blood.
(I suppose he would want to ask why I still go through the pains of mentioning him in my poems. That is exactly why I must refrain from letting him know.)
Perhaps, from a distance, I glimmer
like gold. A lyric of light
reflects at him; he shuts his eyes tight: blinded; I walk
before his lids adjust to my bones.
Today, I can only give you what you do not long for:
news of this country, headlines
like prison bars
with the swarm of us trapped behind— guilty, but
not for what we’ve been arrested.
Delhi is a middle-aged man
with a belly too large for his belt. He pries his
shoes off in waiting rooms, exposes
the threadbare faces of his toes. You could
sit beside him at the dinner table
night in and out, plates rattling in proximity,
never be a daughter to.
I stand facing his medicine cabinet
at our luck. Him, with his many ailments
left untreated, and me
catching them all: one by one:
arms and jaw, wedged wide open by the
cough of boredom.
thank you bby 👼
I abstract the truth for decoration’s sake: a garland of verse about the neck of the moment, laughter dusted onto brows: memory wrapped (warped) in a poem.
From Venus too, the undines gleam: this world
is not for you or me. (Water nymph
and tight-lipped myth.) Our bodies soiled;
an envelope of hips and thighs; from Venus too,
the whistles blow: these warning calls
delayed in show. A leash of mist about my neck,
both compass head and suicide threat: I drag
my body to and fro: it drags me too, to and fro.
How far along this cobblestone
will I succumb to the siren’s hauls? From Venus
too, the questions glimmer. I plunge into
an urn of sky and wait until I simmer. Now—
mourn this curse of flesh and bone.
On Venus too, I romance stone.
To those who have not yet
learned to sit across the carpet,
legs blandly splayed,
with the singe of antiseptic on a wound
wait. Guilt, when scrubbed thorough
and clean, whittles down to
a pearl of fear,
one that rolls down the throat
once you know how to
swallow without attempting to chew.
To those who pace forth
despite the shame placed on
their shoulders like luggage—
wait. I will be there soon.
I run with my back stiff straight;
I will catch up to you.
I lay history flat across the table,
its legs and arms pinned tight & wide,
dissect it with unlearned fingers,
prod about with a child’s gaze.
Chunks of flesh
fling themselves away, as if
on a summer’s day;
specks rest in my hair
and take refuge on
my wrists. That is how
it is: to treat your past with a doctor’s hands
without gloves, indifferent
rooted in indecision truly
mistakes? (Is the
sun still the sun
after it sinks?)
as if to fill the gaps
in all our
stories ; no wonder
why her jaws
are never shut and our
blessed with echoes
The balm in Gilead to the herd of us: a flick
of the switch and the lights return. The two flip-sides
of the same one coin: I embed myself, quick,
into the soot at my feet. This condition: brainsick:
spinning like a once-dancer with no rhyme in her stride.
I build myself upon this premise, brick by brick,
only to find the mortar crumble. Oh, this lick
of overwhelm, heavy as the tongue of every nib,
trudges along the shore, carries me thick
on its shoulders. My two feet, parted, leave
a trail behind of many lines. Disturbed the scheme
of every verse, and forgot the essence I came
here with. Oh, run the teeth of a comb through
me: both heads and tails, both candle and wick:
both lost and won,
both host and gone.
Tangled like hands on the devil’s walking stick.
A day soaked
a lazy olive
on my tongue.
I pit its
Call it bitter;
call it mine.