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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