Uncoupling II

As if fumigation can wipe away
years of Samsara—
an ochre scarf around his nose,
              he stretches under the springs
of the sofa

Nothing has changed – he need not
live in a cave
contorting the limbs
in an attitude of surrender

Everything is changed too:
he eats a bowl of nothing at forenoon,
                    at sunset slices in quarters
                    hunger pangs,
peeling away the skin to watch the fruit

Not knowing how to celebrate or mourn
weakens the scalp of thoughts:
assign patterns, draw maps,
break time into chants
as counter-narrative

                   disregarding
the morning light wash
mossy tree bark, the bird cries
in looping urgency
             mistaking radiance for heat

The dimple of yellow enfolds
the false daisy in the backyard
when she asks:
at what point did you stop looking?

In her land, it rains every tenth day

(for Andal)

வாங்கக் குடம் நிறைக்கும் வள்ளல் பெரும் பசுக்கள்
நீங்காத செல்வம் நிறைந்தேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

The hill fashions clouds
the illupai breathes deep to enable this.
Shrouded in a fog the pimpled bark of wild lime
loops liana climbers under hoary limbs.


The red earth swirls in a dust storm
precipitation veins the hill.
The mercurial rupture on the boulders, the burst
of life tosses the crown of kadamba.


The heartwood browned with age holds
the secret of her progeny. Stewing  the sap
into the folds of the skin, she births a calf  
who sleeps in the ooze of milk.

where poems hide

A butterfly dusted in sunset orange dips into a flower
like a diver who tears into the silky fabric of the sea.

The honeyed bees are encrusted and scaled with pollen
as the laced wings whir, toss the flowers. 

I feel most elated on a day when sun licks the earth in thirst
the notes tumble from the dried twig, set fire a song.  

I think the poem hid in a flower, in the wings of a butterfly
in the pollen on a drunken bee, in the song of a thirsty earth.

I raked the ground, sifted through the crumble of browned leaves
watched the earth yield a plant and offer a flower to find this.

I will blame the blueness in the sky
the berries fallen and crushed under feet, seeds carried away by wind

the plain breasted bird on a dying tree.
Sun soaks through everything, stitches specialness into the ordinary

A Tale From The Forgotten Land – II

Mountains thunder down their brawny torsos, nose askew elephants in confusion
wade the river that has lost the banks.

I move homes by tricking the bones and lungs, fold into the heights,  curl in
the hollow of the rocks fetal

as even the eagle rolls out larger than me. The air coils in the tension of terror
along the liquid shoulder of the cliff.

Everything is red this morning – the soil, the river, and water draining my throat –
bloody like the spout from the hawk’s neck.

Stars wheel though darkness as in creation-time nameless but with the identity
of my dead mother.

Where are the homes of birds, food for the bees, the sun whose rays must penetrate
the graves of my people?