Rushi Vyas

I Saw You and I Learned This, Beloved

 

Sage Kapila defines destruction 
            as cause’s return    To this I bow    as the customer 

 

passes his finished dish to my hands 
           all line & gauze    Mom reads 

 

my palm    lifeline
            says you’ll live heavy and long

 

before tracing your origin    All I hold 
             are crumbs    your smudged remains

        

naan chunk I sneak to mouth before the plate
             ends in a bus tub    Don’t we all 

 

bathe in demise like my fetish 
             smiling at your funeral as I namaskaar 

 

respect to you    Bapu    my cold nails
              your neck climbed to arrive at cause 
       
                            I scrub chili grime to Hindi songs your timbre
                                                     (Tujhe Dekha To Yeh Jaana Sanam)

 

My elbow shudders at a plate stack
             white porcelain discs spinning

 

like jasmine petals in barren fields
              in a river in puja before shatter    I stretch 

 

for the broom    smile for reason    
              at flayed remainder    my lips mute

 

laughter    I sweep the scattered    
              & squint for any glint in the shards

Proverb in absentia

 

early to bed early to lies

a man’s mimesis

 

breath obscured dialect

in the post-shower mirror

 

razor reflection of the weather

forecast with health demise

 

with wealth these nails bind

your ties to my collar a figure

 

of hope clean shaven

leash a stethoscope

 

to keep another’s heart

in your fist you called

 

wisdom these gags

a family of garments

 

left to us to rend

 

Proverb in absentia  

 

a bird in the eye is worth 
squeezing the life out of 

 

a body mostly nothing
cloaked in rib & feather

 

a tie ornamented with wings
pivots around your trachea 

 

air & bone lined with skin 
stubble grown waiting 

 

for the two in the bush
a grave mistake you say 

 

to keep palms empty 
like the atoms that mold 

 

a hand out of negative charges
groan for form they cannot hold

 

a desire violent to bond

Rushi Vyas teaches creative writing in Boulder, CO where he has served as Managing Editor of TIMBER Journal and Subito Press. His poems are forthcoming or published in Tin House, The Offing, The Journal, and elsewhere. 

 


 

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