Tree Talk

It was luck
that took me to the first line

that creased the face
when worry constricted
the bones at the chest  

The threadbare day
spun yarns from empty tales
when I could not choose

between the sea and the mountain
Both were a gateway to another life

Most times space turned inward
to the remembrance of light on the skin
stretched to the radius

where the sun distilled colors
on the flowers

as the leaves
held the conversation with the tree.


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The Cursed Flower

She sits at the edge of the tide, the sky
bleaches the folds of her neck. The flowers in the skirt 

deceptive take colors from the house. She fashions a tunic
tasseled with strands of time when every event takes a step back.

As the weight of emptiness rests on the rosewood chair
her mind drops into the silenced bowl of the day.

The clock hands tremble with particles of constancy: the clover
fragrant in the smoked fish on the counter, the dust in air

fed by flecks of coal hefted from the stove as corn fobs
gyrate in the squall of hunger. The tongue of the Pandanus flower bears

the language of the silenced deity, she slices the rosette of curse
weaves the fragrant strand in her hair to stitch the gash of shame.

Slices of Summer

magenta
Magenta is the closest color to the blood
the veins of bougainvillea roots under the skin
to the flashes of light seen behind closed eyes
on a summer morning.

April is the month of grasping – bleeding colors
smear the mercurial sky, butterflies spin dreams
near the window, the koels in swoons of longing
knot the tall eucalyptus.

The fruits secret several ounces of sunlight, sway
through helicoptering bumblebees dazed by the smell
of leaves mulched by the moisture trapped
in breaths from the sea.

The Moringa Is My Bodhi Tree

Moringa_Tree_powerHouse_Growers

The moringa tree wants me to snip its head every time
I run my hand over the shoots.

It rather stays my height so the leaves, flowers and pods
remain within grasp.

I bring every part of the tree to my meal, mulch the soil
with its own waste.

Can I do all these to my memories – nick them so to
garner the light of the sun?

It is easy to catch the smell of despair in the scaled trunk
crumbly like algae in a temple pond.

In secrecy I wrote your name on the bark, watched it grow
into rings of stories.

Each letter faded out, absorbed into the core of the tree
that is ungraspable.

I do not need the aswatha tree to teach me lessons of life.
The moringa does better

by paring me down, shredding clamoring limbs. I shed leaves
to reach for my small voice.

The Full Moon: A Love Poem

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 Reflection

 

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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.

The Full Moon: A Love Poem

thumbai

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.