Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Tipping Point

I am only half of you
half of your subcontinent skin
my autumn-stained hair
half your ink and girth

My stories are served to me
on small plates
my stories are only half of yours

The low hum of your words
lifts and tilts in quiet waves
through the savanna of your chest
the steeped air swoons cardamom
and I am running with you
in mud washed streets
your grandmother's fried puri crunches
then fills the mouth in oily plumes
the way my grandmother's surely must have tasted

My stories are the Other castes
that wait outside the temple
shout devotion at stone to be embraced by echo
in the flickering tango of shadows
we enter
fold our bodies and breath into maternal contours
shell cracked to source
rifts in ancient masonry
cull the heat of severance

Fingers of moon slip between
window bars
the arcs of twisted limbs
I imagine that your stories are mine

Yasmeen Najmi

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