The sky burns at the edge of the cornfield the smoke
rolls from bread baked with specks of nails because
that is what is done to girls who are tossed into the pit
fingers sliced, teeth carved into beads sold in the bazaar
How does it taste he asks stuffing her mouth with the fist
glistening with juice from the pumpkin rotting in the pot
She draws lines on the dust under the bed to keep count
the breeze teases her destiny blurs the purple splotches
scalded by lips marked with lesions cavities of puss he
runs his tongue over when she attempts to escape. Let
the slender bone of the neck be ruptured. Let the face
be drowned in a pool of shame. Let the cry be muffled. Let
Is there a river beneath the earth that moves from the mountains
tangled limbs of trees, arms knotted in the trauma of death dark tar-like?
That is what happens to the soul crunched by clumps of rocks that
turn the valley into a gash of mouths sucking air in blocked throats.
The Sun a discharged bomb spills a copper column into the sky
a concrete slab presses on the chest of earth scarred by explosion.
The river twists around jagged debris, the mountain prone
thighs slashed lengthwise and all the way into the womb.
You must ask what is the need to reach the shrine in six hours
take in your mouth the brine tossed from the sea million years ago
when the universe narrated a different story, fossilized dreams in folds
of the brain gutted now by the road that cleaves you at the core.
The poem is written in response to this.
There is the path covered by rubble
excavated from a hole a perfect circle in the
middle of grassland the smell of fresh earth
shored up as a wall along the scarred sidewalk
The arrow points backward from the burning chute
to the blind end of the street lay the enclosed garden
you vaulted the wall to see her tend Pongam tree
hold in the cup of her feet seeds brushed red-purple
You have reached this far not knowing if the river
you enter this minute there was a trickle from
a slab of ice in the mountains two days ago or
a channel of discontinuous disembodied element
The time a butterfly folds wings divide four times
it’s the journey a snail dreams in the ocean bed
of nautilus slants vision from deep water flooding
through porous eyes to enfold the history of the earth.