THREE POEMS by Purvi Shah
MIRA LONGS TO BE MORE THAN A BRIDE
The sound of your footsteps
is waterfall. Why not thrust
off these bangles then? You
are already music & in your hands, I am
wordless sound in your worldless sound. Note this
concert of veils lifting & fires
crossing. A palanquin came
to witness how my head adorned
by marigold can bow, can summon
deep golden fetters of dawn – how night consorts
with day to disappear, how we alone burn for the fire
of being: we two will know what pulse
clinks our breaths as twins
in a mother’s pouch, both their own
& not own
– our original
I shall wear the moon
or your heartbeat
around my wrist.
WHEN PROMISE DISAPPEARS, MIRA SPEAKS TO THE THORNS
Sorrow: may you be known
by your other names – black
orchid, a scar burst, a thorn
at your jaw, the underbelly
of true joy.
Sorrow: were you to have a season, should you be
a head lodged against a doe-like shoulder & my bountiful
raven hair? Sorrow: may you fall
between autumn & winter or extreme
beauty & extreme quiet or
extreme bliss & extreme plenty, between
a burnt rose & its thorns –
or ideally between Sunday & Sunday, a day of day deleted. After raptures,
beloved-talk, a smile
in early light, how easy a heart betrays,
how each & every nerve
re-speaks splendors – lost. So we turn
back to the same dilemma, joy more slippery
in the hand & somehow
& in each
season sorrow standing
for your shoulder – perched
to draw blood.
HER HANDS ARE A FURNACE
warmed by the light of God or maybe her dark mother
fed her coals for breakfast in youth, hoping
to kindle the child’s black meat into diamond.
Wayfarers scout the country to enclose
her hands, these oracles of heat. She sears
migrants with warm shelter. She simmers
their cold burn with hope, imparts companions.
Her hands are a furnace, he says & shies
away. He wants to lead
her to the coldest chamber in his American home,
envelop her sun-spackled wrists from the homeland
in his brown palms. He seeks
to teach his nerves how warmth is spread.
When he clasps her hands, he too imagines
he is planted on stone floors, underneath a flat
roof, sun puncturing sizzle after monsoon rains.
His palms are soft, uncarved, she discerns. It is not easy being
a holder of heat, a foreigner to fevered belonging.
She curtains her eyes, trained to hide the smoldering.
Issue 4 Contents NEXT: The End of Labor by Al Maginnes