The poem is not a lover. A lover wants comfort, cajoling,
even the cold-hearted ones keep coming back for
reassurance. The poem is not a friend. It is not there
to listen, to reinforce, to hug. The poem is not a child.
Even though you birthed it. Even though you dress its
wounds and feed its soul. It will deny your motherhood
in a second, without remorse. That evening, on the terrace,
the Cauvery bare below us, her sandy underbelly exposed
to the stars, the night dipping lower and lower and finding
no reflection, you said the poem was a river. One that
came from the low mountains, that begged for rain, that
in the summer swallowed its own words to slake its thirst.
I watched the ink run through a forest, tumble down the
hills chased by monsoon clouds, the abundance running over
its banks, spreading through the fields, the villages, the
rotting bodies, like blood from a head wound- a river in
rage, the page blank, flapping wet against my dismembered
limbs. How do I make you see the boat crossing that river?