Poetry

OPEN

at the Chaat House on the end of South Avenue wedged between the Italian restaurant  and the slowly-dying bookstore, I stare  at the CLOSED sign’s obituary. the books groan against the window display, not loathed just unloved—but the Chaat House burns  with the struggle to live, the bruised walls blackened with the spidery handwriting  of […]

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Poetry

Varanasi Ablaze

where death goes,  varanasi trails with her eyes closed.  her swinging hips, bells on her lips,  a bow-legged creature  garlanded in the scent of coal ashes.  ganga laps at her toes, the frothy tides coated in the charred remains of what was.  but  where death goes,  varanasi follows in footstep.  her dusky hair, and marigold […]

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Poetry

Ode to Cardamom Children

We who were told by our mothers  to find the veins of our spices, the brittle rivulets carved into the skeletons of fennel and cumin seeds—we opened their hearts with the kiss of a pestle.  It was fenugreek who taught us spices were courted and not conquered.  We can’t seem to remember when we widowed […]

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Poetry

Postcard from Mumbai, March 2003

  My aunt was still young when the train shuddered—  wheels skidding into early graves, the shriek  of broken gears. A hazy elegy,  a bomb,  then three. That moment, muted  and comatose—its seed still asleep under her tongue, still born in salted earth, beneath the headstone  of a tiring before and a bouquet of tired […]

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Poetry

To Proud Boys

Your flag is the color of sun-stained backs drenched in the blood of their brothers,  drowned by the stifling stench of cotton residue,  drizzled in gashes ruptured by men  who looked so much like you.  Your stars were once stitched  from bruised fingers in bare attics,  every thread tamed into fabric  you hoist into a […]

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Prose

Cut to fly

Black.

My fingers weave through the mess of my hair, smoothening the strands and arguing with the tangles. Poking against the knots until slowly and silently, they come undone. Like an ancient scroll finally discovered, my braid unravels and a curtain of ebony cascades down my shoulders.

 

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