We spread like loam, our heads bold
over treetops, sky.
Brown tongues of fern

unfolded. The gyre of mountains
surrounded us.

If there were noises in the distance,
we heard them only
as clouds.

In hell, we’re grouped
by sins, they say,

each territory spelling its claim:
Minos, Medusa, Cerberus.

We were grouped on earth
for less. Arms and legs
in an auto rickshaw, howling

until the wound pounded nights.
We walked, throats growling,
fingers mauled. Our bodies

flailed through reeds.
We opened our mouths
into Hydrangeas,

blue or pink
depending on the soil.

When we leave, teeth will scatter
over the fields
like flowers.

When we leave,
there will be time
to remember.
Florid tongue,
shush now.


They said we were disappearing, as if we were simply turning
the act of birth inside out; leaving nothing, not even dark.
It did not happen like that. We were not lost.
They started eviscerating us. Colossal, our limbs rose into sky
like glass towers. Our voices boomed across the horizon. Our heads rolled
across the valleys. Sparrows bled.
Who cares for whores like that, they said. The buildings closed
their eye-like windows, blind against the tap-tap of footsteps
on breathless streets. A mob of hands. When we leave, daughter, I’ll tell you why.


I bite hard. My wounds multiply to a thirst.
The rings around my eyes sag; I’ve forgotten sleep.
The plinth of our house sinks. I grow wings, inch by inch,
poking them out of my arms like scales. Mysterious lacerations
like lightening marks on my skin. My breath comes shaky now,
little daughter, do you hear it? My breath blows like a rag
in the wind. I sink into my bed and there is a woman,
next to me, coughing up blood. I hunt my slippers all night,
my purse. What if there is no money where we go next,
no footwear? I bite hard to open and every door gushes.


We will walk through like monsters.


Songs of defeat
will wind into the throats of meteors

on the eastern bank, singers will sing
of rampancy. There will be shows.

Over the lawns bathed in silver,
we will stand, heads glowing over clouds,

grey and leathery. When the tanks come,
we will lie down, one by one,
and crush them under our weight.

*First published in One, Issue 8.  Also in Walk Like Monsters.