Before she dies my grandma becomes a girl
visiting all the great rivers & all the great mountains
& all the great animals before the fire.
By the Indus, in a basket on a bed of water,
her baby eyes see indigo- carpels are already open,
delayed dehiscence docks her envy, sickle-shaped fruits
touch the yet unseen blue of the leaves.
She opens her eyes after the Nile floods
her never-mascara eyes, then she closes them
again, the roundness of the hill lose degrees,
mastabas grow where she walks, as she does.
A clan of wild grasses, six feet tall-
She brushes aside a brittle seed-head,
the hulls of which clung to the grains.
She chooses the big grains with ritual-cap hulls.
She must have dropped them, something must
have run over it, rain must have touched it just so,
like indigo does not pollute the deepest fibers-
the twisted turned wrung threads of cloth
that covers her in the hospital ward.
Poems start & end before they started,
collapsing into wicks of a new year candle
that burns with resolved air, propelling
January chariots towards the next bed-
just as many mourning moths,
just as many memories dying
with a crackle, a roused finger left untouched,
limp in a decomposing waiting, on a mattress
filled with water, preventing even bedsores
that gods of those points of light
make space in the sky for.
About the Poet
Ajay Kumar is a student and writer based in Chennai, India whose recent work has appeared in Rattle, Praxis and The Bangalore Review among others.