Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 9 • Spring 2004 • Featured Writer • Poetry

Ravens' Undoing

Maya Khosla

Ravens stole her dentures again.
We climbed the spindly branches,
dug into the tangle,
clutched at her teeth.
The ravens in their half-made nest above,
shouting down their thickest language,
like dark rain, tricksters scolding.
Achiamma below, toothless, hands on hips:
What do they think they are making,
Taj Mahal?
You'd think she loathes animals,

but when dusk draws out the geckos,
Achiamma offers them rice lumps
trembling at the ends of long sticks.
Rind-tough bodies crawl out the cracks,
up walls, their necks thick as cane-root
shudder, gulp, and shudder for more.

Must feed their eye and scale,
feed the thick meat of memory
helps them remember us, keep us safe --

Geckos nod, upside-down push-ups.
The flesh-wrapped coals of their eyes
bulge as moths spin and bump
around the lamps' glass-cheeked fire.
The reptiles rip forward, some catch wing-crumples,
some land on the floor with a clap.

Achiamma shapes gecko-eyes into the dust
to draw away ills, ravens' longings,
then she darkens the windows with clove-steam,
to suck out the evening's colors.
Now raven's jungly eye won't wander
further than her nest.

Maya Khosla

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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