Under Wolf Paw
You are telling me to leave.
That you couldn't break
the single file of parents, grandparents
who reaped wheat, watching each grain
drop through generations of waiting.
That you are brittlebush, stiff
entrenched too long and deep
under wolf-paw and snow
to shift, but you want me to take
the raw jaggery, the shoes,
to wake before the sky climbs,
and reach the border before light
twists and snaps through the cobwebs
under wild apricot trees.
Take what you can.
The gifts are delicate,
but your words click with the clout
of nail in leather. Tonight we are copper
and fire and old song, cupping cinnamon
steam to our faces, eyes on a distance
too dark to sing about
but rich enough to sip and smell,
while all around us the candles
are breathing slower than I am,
even in this cold. Stay curled. Don't shoot
your one green arm into the sun
until you get there, go
with crow-claw to hunt the light.
Turn what you can into wings.
Maya Khosla was raised in India, England, Algeria, Burma, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. Those cultures as well as her background in biology strongly shaped her writing. Keel Bone, winner of the 2003 Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize, is her first full-length poetry manuscript. She is also the author of Web of Water, a creative non-fiction manuscript, and Heart of the Tearing, a chapbook collection of poetry. Individual poems have been featured in journals like America's Review, Permafrost, Poetry Flash, and Seneca Review. She has performed at venues such as Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival and at Headlands Center for the Arts, where she was writer-in-residence in 1998.
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