vernal equinox

moonstone sky exhaling with the duskhour
& the snowsteps of the hare.

the west wind carries on its wingtips
the first scents of spring:
of treebranch, warming sap,
& buddings bloodred, coral & parrotgreen, waiting & ready.
of birdsong- effervescent;
the scent of water slowly moving again beneath her icy mantle, refracted in myriad-tones of jade by snow & sky.

up above, a sharp, raucous greeting-
my footsteps slow down & are quiet now.
bright, bright white specks on the horizon,
& here they are, long necks outstretched & wings wide open to the tall moonstone sky:
five swans, now standing on the snow,
heartbeats facing the setting sun & the west wind-

they came back.

5 women.

we sit on the mountain,
five breathing points of a star,
souls turned toward sky
& that sunwomb cleaved in mountain-range,
that mighty triangle-
infused with light,
she glows strong & pale & strong
as we sit on the mountain,
five breathing points of a star,
tendril’d into darkless summer night
& midnight sun.

drumsong is shared like freshwater,
& tenderly, souls are washed.

just now.

dear mama,
each passing day breathes a loving, searing, dance of homecoming & farewell- imprinting body & soul with evanescence replete with the lightness of the dragonfly hum in summer, and the deep, dragonbreath magma-song of grief.
but today…today is just goodbye. once more.

& here we are again:
one more spin round the sun,
one more year, stacked
upon another & another & another.
but today feels like just now.
just now, i heard you were gone,
just now, i flew up in night-sky
mantled in disbelief,
then landed & watched you,
so uncomprehendingly still beneath a sheet,
just now, & you were ashes.
just now, & you were ashes dissolved in warm ocean.
just now, & you were completely gone,
so very quiet now, & absolutely everpresent.

just now, & me,
four years older & catching my breath,
preparing for another spin round the sun.

Last night. Writing on a dream. Full moon weaving its watery magic.

a great-grandfather visits.

last night,
in quiet unshaped dreamwaters,
you visited for the first time.

you died so many many years before i came to be.

last night,
in quiet unshaped dreamwaters,
we sat you and i, on a rowboat,
drifting towards a dawn mist soft as silk.
your wife, my father’s mother’s mother,
sat with us.
we sang for you unspoken words in the silence,
unbroken by water and sunrise.
and then you stood up,
and on the next breath, you were no more.
dissolved into the watery quiet.

for the first time since i came to be,
i loved you.

once in a while you visit : a memory of my great-grandmother.

once in a while, you visit,
sudden, un-beckoned, always acknowledged
with a smile infinitely sad and tender
that unfolds its butterfly wings
and dragonfly depth
in the space between breaths,
somewhere between my remembering heart
and my childhood me.
once in a while, you visit,
bestowing upon the instant
scents and tastes, confetti-like,
and right now, it was a waft of Sunday and winter,
the pastel clear sweetness of dragées,
sugar cool like old-fashioned water, and sticky;
right now, it was a murmur of your smell,
honeysuckle cologne too fresh and flowery for truth,
weaved into the vaguely brittle mustiness
of your deep old-age,
and a hundred years of gazing up at the moon every night,
before sleep.

my mother’s mother.


i don’t HAVE a country,  i AM the stories of my life lived & dreamed,
the stories of my parents,
the stories of this life & the one before & the one before
& all that flowed in between.
India is my mother’s land.
when part of myself was part of my mother part of her mother,
i was a tiny egg in my unborn mother in her mother’s womb,
& my unconceived cells breathed the music of India,
her carnatic clamours & temple bells,
muezzin calls floating in & out of tune in jasmine-clad air,
her immense sadnesses & her knowing silence,
the sandalwood song of my mother’s mother’s skin
& her hips rolling slow in cotton sari,
wrapped around her warm belly & my unfurling mother & me- unthought of.
India is not a country to me,
she is this unspoken song always remembered.
and this is why my heart breaks every time my feet land on her noisy, dusty, impossibly contradictory soil,
& every time i say goodbye, my heart breaks once more.