the breath rests

The ladle is you
the oblation is you
it is offered by you in the fire
which is you.
You shall be attained by the one
who is absorbed in you .
~ Bhagavad Gita

The lone traveler cooks his last meal
throws the pots into fire doused
by steady fall of snow. The pines are left
miles below, only the hum of wind
the hiss of breath at the tip of the tongue
as air journeys from sinking diaphragm
fanned by fire from the womb.

A stitch of light rips the skin of dawn
to unravel the slow-burning planet.
Smoke rises from the forest
folds into the ample breast of earth.
He labors his breath, pebbles roll in the chest
each one a chant he learned standing neck deep
in the freezing river.

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The Blue Moon: A Love Poem

I begin to talk to the moon
I have been wanting to do it from the time
I experienced the phenomenon
that moon is not an astral body
not a satellite that books make it to be
and that was when I was a girl
looking up as the clouds scudded by
the palm fronds eclipsed the sheer whiteness
I walked streets, past buildings
wearied I reached an open ground
the orange lantana was sobered by the spectacle in the sky
the crown flower poisoned a deep purple
the shadows of the leaves sharp on the burnt grass
I did not have to look up to see the moon
earth was a receptacle
the way my skin, eyes, limbs
incandesce with you
love like the moon is a phenomenon
I run untiringly to the open space
to garner you in the orchard of my heart.

The Garment

the breeze does not move in dreams
appears grey and quartz when eyes open not yet
to a house bright with colours

redness of earth pools in damp bags
contours the face in the years lost between lives
filigreed nerves like frail fingers of spent river

burst at the wings of shoulder
breasts damp in mulmul cotton buttery to touch
marbles the sky in milky pools

Waiting lounge in an airport

A young man looks into the settings of the camera
studying as he would the movement of fish under water.

Noise explodes as stories web under squares of sky light
to drown the old film song from a taxi playing loud in mind.

It is never easy to penetrate the concentration of the man
focusing the lens on the aeroplane waiting to take flight –

the tension of the engine uncoils muscles that cord jaw to shoulder.
Dream fans out wings, triangle of desire pulls up a chair as coffee fumes

spill along the seats in the waiting lounge. After a walnut cake
forked between sips of tea they are still there –

her hair in a lazy knot fell on bare shoulders, breasts a whisper
under the tassel of her shirt goose pimpled his skin into delirious  rash.

folklore

It is believed in the town that the sun directs its light into the well
staining pearly radiance at the curvature where she aims the spittle

He mapped the channel of the dribbling  silver by holding her body
blue grey like the spent rivulet draining into the dry mouth of delta

A green snake taken in the mouth stirs under the tongue of moon
the cobra ascends from her groin fans out hood of desire in her breast

When pain colors like oleander she knows the blood flows in reverse
from the tip of the finger to the dying throat of the flower rasping for breath

The last time I saw him he was saluting the sun, his head a hive of memories
he did not know she was crouched over the fire as a last act of supplication

One hand on the slab of shoulder, the other cupped over her ear he called
into the empty house, primeval cry razed down the structures of language


 

Convergence (Sangamam)

Thoughts in the head air out lies by briefly
heaving out of the dark well. I grasp
the fumes from aubergine slumped on coal stove
ooze of deception on puckered skin
where I hollow out. The tissues shaped like death
coil in the finger held in a hooked fashion
as sand plugged all extremities. Eternity and mortality
speak the same language as you drop a rope into me
plumb the crust of earth to reach the star.
A storm of ashes in the ghat where rivers converge –
the Gomati who ends her journey and the Sarayu
from where I pick pebbles, immerse the last ball of rice.

 

Visitation

The dead crowd my legs
those who leave us late can never forget
they wander and find way between the lids of eyes
to spill into our dream

Maybe I did not till the garden with fervor
turn the soil under the light of stars, to see
if the seed splayed open in the breath of dawn, if end
of you is the beginning of me

I drape time on you as if it is enough
not to grasp the silk slip away through the space where
silence pools in your curled fingers that trace
the horizon as a jagged line

A river ran here fifty years ago, a wasteland now
the roots of trailers hear the rustle of water
that like ghosts let breeze blow through hollow shell
to grasp life that has no matter

The bird hollows out the sky ball sized, slices a path
taut like the birth canal – the only passage with no return
which then loosens in the vast breast of blue
under the gland that nurtures eternity