Here are the neem blossoms on the red-tiled floor
the first breath of summer crumbling under the feet
in the instep arched deeper to become a receptacle.
The moonlight bounces off the waxy leaves
a cloud of smoke from the smoldering branches is carried
by the breeze from the sea blowing inland to the terrace.
The roots of the tree are knotted in a clay tub
the bark stumpy, the branches twisted at the nodes
whorls of the memory of earth siphoned in spoons of existence.
You take the tartness of the flower in the mouth
knead away my loop of desire, dig the soil to move the tree
holding it as you would an infant to prevent limbs from splaying.
Spread me out, flatten the ground with your moist palms
the roots crave to cleave the breasts of the earth furrowed
by the labor of the moon planted in the seeds of your hunger.
The long argument ran into a thin stream
leaped in sudden bursts, snarled over his silence
Where is the diamond I brought in marriage
the ring that I dropped into the well
He jumped in, snorted the slush of a copious monsoon
massaged her breastbone, the hands opened like a wing
arced into a cup of gift that was hers to give
The tingle of gooseberry on the teeth as he furrowed
a pathway in the room where the firewood was stored
scorpions teeming under the tiles cramped her legs
The stitches unraveled four times and the lotus leaf
bearing the lamp floated down the river
So he took her to the sea, the salty water washed
the pallid thighs, he sniffed the attar behind the earlobes
hold the seed he said, the words slimed into her
roped the womb into a pouch of rice she balled every time
she washed the palms of sesame seeds, a hand-span of life
she coaxed to breathe by climbing the hill for a glimpse of Palar
the river a trickle sank in the silence of the heart
ran dry for the first time in twenty years which was her age.
Petals from the prints of red hibiscus crinkled
stamen fell over the padding of breastfeeding gown.
Buttons unhooked she squeezed nipples engorged breasts
caked with milk, decanted existence into a shell of grief.
Reflection in the mirror held the man diminutive in size
stare at the new life guzzle with insatiable hunger.
His skin parched, cells powdered the pith of being
became dust in the palm of the son she fed.
After he leaves for the airport
the dust from his shoes settles on the floor
The smell of soap lingers in the room
as I fold the warmth of his body in the blanket
It goes back to the practice from my childhood
when I wandered in the overgrown backyards of people
to collect the thumbai flowers, pinches of moon in my palm
that I weaved into a garland, the pale stem of a flower
pressed into the heart of another, into the soft pouches
of nectar for the bees that helicoptered to my face
Brush of wings a whisper so faint like the slight
movement of his chest as he slept
I pay attention to the small things in him that the others miss
so like the thumbai flower that no one cared to gather.