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.
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.
Pieces of earth I gathered
breathed into clods of clay
till roots grew from my palm
branches clenched my breast.
Like a mother I lactated
nerves tips loosened with sap.
As flowers burst into colours,
seeds tugged me. But the cycle
terminated when the sky
declared water is earth.
इदमापः प्र वहत यत्किं च दुरितं मयि ।
May the water cleanse me.
(Apah Suktam, Rig Veda)
The gut knots in loops of metal strings,
muscles tighten around my bag of seeds
as rain batters on the glass that trembles
first, then shakes in a shattering threat.
The night is drained of colours, sedimented
like dark silt. I stretch my arms like octopus –
everything falls away from grasp , only
night dust that I carry in the cracks of skin
as the roof over my head blows away and
water rises to my knees, hips, shoulders,
jaws, mouth, nose , eyes that break into
light bright, metallic, psychedelic where
noise includes silence, and darkness light.
*’Apah’ in Sanskrit means water.
The flower changes colour
every cell mutates, energy shifts
into the space beyond sun lit morning
to dreams that fail to levitate
There was never a flower.
No colour. The river of light
scavenged forms, peeled away names,
took me down from the peg of my body
Dye in the fabric is the song
of a bird, also the pine that breathes
vapours into a forest – the cones prickly
in a mind nonexistent
The ink dries on an empty
page. Words like fish bones
on a plate taste like grey mist,
salt of a wave in an ocean
ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पुर्णमुदच्यते
पूर्णश्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
That is Whole. This is whole. Whole begets Whole.
Take Whole from Whole, indeed Whole remains.*
~ Yajur Veda
I so fear the sky that will fall into a stupor of dream
as it happened the night I found land disappear –
just like that, a gaping hole caved under the feet.
What held me in place, why did I not fall into crater?
The way I stay firm the jasmine bush holds ground,
ivory flowers in amber light, hollow of dark throat
divested of stamen as if in curse. At the periphery
of vision two neon butterflies orbit each other from
beginning of time like moon and earth shadowing/
mirroring. Are they tiring, will Brahma close eyes
for a day: end of a kalpa? Lake in earth’s core fills
like saucer of milk when moon eclipses. Life ends/
commences. Wholeness comes from it self – half it, empty
it – Wholeness remains it self regardless of moon and earth.
Purnam – Wholeness
Kalpa – a day in the life time of Brahma, which is 4.32 billion human years
* The sloka from Yajur Veda is the quintessence of Advaita philosophy.
There was a time we shared our world with animals
swam with horses in the seas, manes covering
our bodies when we pulled along the marina for coitus
muscles tensed, eyes sky blue the colour of our seeds.
I birthed the universe: body the dawn, eyes the sun,
mouth the fire I stoke in my kitchen, spit of grease
thick on foil – offerings made to the gods. They licked
their lips satiated. I am death, hence two faced life.
Half a seed stirring with desire, fathered the other half –
Prajapati, the God, man as in male, my mirror, lover
coiled around me. I shuddered. There was no speech. No
words. Those were times a question became an answer.
Who? Prajapati did not know, so asked. That is him. Who.