Eyes cast down
I watch the pebble
honed to its simple tone
Watermarks of story blur
in waves of desires deferred
Thoughts never rise out of the lake
bees unwinged in the circle of a full life
Who can map the path of the breeze
fence the clouds shifting over the hill
Logos is a headless tree
waving into the starless night
Silence spelled like the absence
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.
All lives are connected
trees and plants are one organism
that nurture each other
the weak soldiered by the strong.
There is a warrior in my garden
the Plumeria tree that grows in a large tub
she has not a single leaf and will never
waste energy on producing one all summer.
She breathes deep and holds life
for pink protuberances to burst into blossoms.
In the tub there is a hum of roots, a stray
tomato seed waves pale and spindly shoot
a robust butterfly pea creeper threads
a nosy tendril into the air for support from
the naked branches. Blanched
leaves of honeysuckle vine trail
over the tree as they gulp mouthfuls
of sunlight for chlorophyll.
Every cell of the body opens and closes
swells and shrinks to the cycle of the moon
while the muscles arch and sing to a different cycle
every fruit and morsel of rice fed by the sun.
And all the cycles in between- the river running dry
for fifteen years, the earth knotted in stubbornness
loops of suffering, the cycle of mourning, the womb
stretched and inelastic filled with the husk of grief.
Just before dark
the tree stood in clear light
I could almost see
what lay across the fence
when you left
could see a part of me go with you
a part of you stay with me.
He asks me to stay with him till the moon appears
I have sunsets to pursue, chase away the motes that work
constantly from the window to the damp floor in the kitchen.
Knotted in the sheets he refuses to open his eyes, the darkness
behind the lids prolongs the night, the shooting stars dribble
down his dream, pool into silvery tears at the edge of his lids.
He trails threads across the room. Loops of an intestine, he says.
The lesson in anatomy is valuable when I push food into PEG tube
for my husband’s mother, imagine its passage in the abdomen.
He moves beads in his head, fossilizes a dead lizard in layers
of sand, building rubble and leaves. When my shadow shifts
I am alone, he says enfolding into my abundant waist.
The two rivers meet in the town
where the mountain spreads legs
for the valley that is prone on her back
like a slumberous woman.
Gomti flows into Sarayu
ceases to exist after the convergence.
In a statement of finality the river ends
as individual lives terminate.
The old temple priest would not let me step
into Gomti, pick a pebble from a tumble
of moss. My ashes will be strewn here,
he said pointing to the stony riverbed.
His eyes rested on Sarayu’s mercurial water
that flowed in silver twists between rocks.
He touched my head to bless and said:
Sarayu is for the living, for you.