The row of chairs in Kabali Talkies trembled as he
flapped his legs like wings, squat they hardly reached the floor.
The grains danced, broke up and assembled into a face –
Avvaiyar’s eyes caverns of coal, the mouth squiggles of insects.
There is the Ancient One in every family, ageless and padded
in legend: mine was widowed at seventeen, her head shaved,
remained blouse less, and shredded of all that made her a woman.
The movie was long, engrossed me for three hours as she
shed her youth, beauty and became the old woman I knew
in the kitchen, living in the interspace of desire and memory.
She rolled the rosary and recounted stories late into the nights
her body a begging bowl that refused to ask for a day more.