At the train-station in Birmingham, I’m reliving rhetoric for street-music
though I could be seeing other things for psychoanalysis: the woman with
the garden colored passport, the hospice house with silhouettes in its frame
of incandescent light-bulb windows, or the bonsai seller rubbing his cold hands,
thinking of the thorny shrubs lined in ascending order as a synecdoche for Eden.
Night birds on their prowl must be migratory, wild animals with wings, having
abandoned the shelter of nests. Their singing cuts through a thick ribbon of fog.
The night scatters blackness as weeds sprout in an untended spot as residuals,
as incantations. With a novel about a shipwrecked city in my hand, I realize
the blue stars in a distance give a damn. The night is leaving fingerprints everywhere.
After The Funeral Was Over
& the favorite cousin had finished the recital of Dylan Thomas’s
“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” they carried Norma’s
coffin into the graveyard with an entrance full of wild flowers & plums.
Here, I was half-neighbor,
half-friend, punctuated with interludes of silent nodding & sympathetic
smiles in the white space,
in a black dress with orchids in my hands.
But only—today, there is no screaming, joy kicking the viscera, or
putting the orchids in freshwater with sugar in a monochrome vase.
Her great-grandson Google’s “What Happens When You Die” on his
phone & scrolls downwards with the speed
of an eager deer running away from a chasing tiger.
I muster the courage to tell him that Norma & I were garden-goers
& have seen the sun plummet into the stomach of a sea. He nods.
Inside, the house smells of sawdust & incense.
Outside in the garden, a caterpillar slips from the edge of a thin leaf
into another. The afternoon hatches into a greening & spring ushers
cruelly without reverence for the dead— or dying.
The red berries look bruised.
Dying is a serious business. I have to do nothing.
Sneha Subramanian Kanta is a GREAT scholarship awardee, and has earned a second postgraduate degree in literature from England. Her work is forthcoming in Figroot Press, Dirty Paws poetry, VIATOR project and elsewhere. She has been the general advisor and poetry editor for her university journal, INK (UPP). She is the founding editor of Parentheses Journal, a literary initiative that straddles hybrid genres across coasts and climes. She loves horses and autumn.