The scales stuck to my hands glistening
like silver coins, the fish naked
lay vulnerable on the grassy bank.
Feet pulled up my grandmother sat
on chair, rolling beads of prayer, soft flesh
of inner thigh quivered like scaleless fish.
She smeared the walls with camphor
to blot the smell of fish cooked in a mud pot
under the mango tree yards from the doorway
rubbed bright with vermilion – the red mother wore
on her forehead, red of chilli from Hyderabad
that she ground and stuffed in bloodless fish.
Bony fingers poked through grains of rice one by one picking stones smooth like hardened snot, moved one bead after another, feeling the smoothness between fingers, name of god in the chest framed by fleeting luminescence.
She threaded a day to another,
placed the heap as offering
before assuming a dying posture.
How might we otherwise forget the years, dregs from past refusing to go?
The marble on the granite floor warm with afternoon sun flashes a wisp of distant cloud, a whorl of coral from deep seas, sometimes even a bird flying backward chest facing the sky.
This crystal of universe cool in her fingers, she thrust up his nose as he grabbed her in that dark corner of the house.
The journal is washed clean of words, the contours of body inked thin: the earth with its axis has tilted just so the light over the ocean can catch the lines. The air gathers foam from waves and pins the dress in bands between the legs.
I have to turn away from your eyes not to drown there, the salt in the breeze settles on my skin where your tongue draws lines. There’s nothing the coiled serpent will not lick – the brown mountains, the fuzz of dried grass that catches fire as it lays eggs in the insides of me.