2 poems / Yamini Pathak

man pushing cart on road

Kolkata Rain

Skies boil over, lash
of wind against the will
of slim trees that curve, Apsaras
in arabesque, sent from Indra’s
heavens to tempt us from our duties

Slanting sheets mud scents
paints pant-bottoms and hems
of sarees draggle wet and heavy

Rickshaw-pullers slip and strain lean muscle
against ribcage in streets with no drainage

Come, lay down your arms
before the sweet adventure of a storm
boil chai, fry potatoes
gather round a hurricane lantern
tell stories of family ghosts who return
in forked flashes from the skies

Season of Cinder

A neighbor has been cheating
on his wife. He’s very sorry

that he’ll have to explain
his actions to his teenaged daughter.

In another part of the world,
an uncle dies. And the next day

a cousin’s heart caves in.
Three more friends bereft

of their fathers, compounding
losses, not enough

fingers on all of our hands to count them.

Eyes smart from burning pyres,
this season of fierce blossoms.

The thick-tongued air, grief-salted, wonders

when monsoon will arrive to break
the bones of this pitiless sky

Yamini Pathak is the author of the chapbooks, Atlas of Lost Places (Milk and Cake Press) and Breath Fire Water Song (Ghost City Press). Her poetry and non-fiction have appeared in Jaggery, Waxwing, Kenyon Review blog, Voicemail Poems and other places. She is an MFA candidate at Antioch University, LA.

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