We take two trains to reach the heart
of a city cobbled from mica & folklore.

A city contorting into seizures, catatonic
at the knees of a towering witch doctor.

A city with a blind crow trapped in its iris,
its skyline scattered like a failed polygraph

test. We stop here – in this medulla of myth –
till lightning is silvered into strands of hair

of my grandmother's hair. Her emerald
studded jhumka miming a temple bell

I can smell a bleached sourness eulogizing
over the beaten brass of the priest's plate.

It is a cornucopia of sandalwood sticks
wombed inside the abdomens of marigolds.

A thread rhyming each mouth to the belly
A longitude petaled by tangerine whorls

My thumbprint, translucent in the oil of
oud, leaves little pugmarks at the altar.

Already the turmeric luster yellowing hymns
tucked verbatim into the symmetry of Sanskrit.

To love in one language. To pray in another.
To grow into a rope-bridge anchoring both.

So, the faithful slowly gather into golden boughs
under the fevered furnace of an Indian summer.

Each with the ghost of an unworded loss still clinging
to them – a trashcan stillborn, a phantom limb.

On rooftops, we leave trays filled with food,
anointed, faultless for the auspices of afterlife.

Those who are gone will now return for this
feast : each morsel shelling the husk of hunger.

I wait for my grandmother to descend, maybe
with green-glossed plumage of a hillside myna.

I wait to see if she picks the mango clean to
its seed. If the bread burdens the humble beak.

I wonder if there is a way to swallow the last of
your fears till they render you fragile as a mirror.

I fall asleep at an hour where the cats rehearse
to become werewolves & the eucalyptus sways

like an apparition with amnesia. When I wake up
the clouds are cottoned, the bowls are cleaned

I sit, surrounded by an army of empty utensils.
My fingers vermillion as the sun's tongue

 

My pulse reborn as a pause.

 

This is an education in how death is always plural.

 

This is how we best remember loss -
by letting it eat its fill
by feeding it till it forgives

Scherezade Siobhan is a Indo-Roma psychologist, writer and the maker of world's finest spanish omelettes. Her work has been published or is scheduled to appear in Queenmobs, The Nervous Breakdown, Electric Cereal, Potluck, Winter Tangerine, Fruita Pulp, tnYPress, DIAGRAM, Literary Orphans, and others. Her first poetry collection, Bone Tongue, was published by Thought Catalogue in 2015. Her full length poetry collection Father, Husband is scheduled for release in December 2015. She can be found squeeing about militant bunnies and neuroscience at www.viperslang.tumblr.com.