poetry: language of smoke

Language of Smoke

First published in Lockjaw Magazine

every poem i’ve ever written is hungry in a
slow-wheeze way, as if foxes were tearing

apart a rabbit as i spoke. they huddled near the
underbelly of something prehistorical and now,

a pitted coconut or a plum heaving from it’s perch,
remind me of how shiva spoke to me in the

language of smoke. as a tinderbox blushes red,
birch trees eulogized, an almond is clenched in

my tongue. (shiva asks about the glut of silk.)
and fishmongers haggle for tin hooves.

i sift through birdseed and the murky remains
of driftwood. a cathedral lies jaundiced between

us (shiva summons ganga.) i dither in the shallows,
blasphemy knotting into hysteria. with the river

swelling lazily, (shiva smites mandir), i am nothing but
a nomadic dilettante stabbing a bloodclotted lamb.

(shiva waits, bristling, primed for hibernation.) i wait,
goosehollowed, and stung. callused appetite returning.

a foamrinsed persimmon slides past. (shiva tilts his
head back.) and the rain erases our footprints.


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