‘Rama’s Exile’ and other poems by Ajay Kumar Nair
By: Ajay Kumar Nair
maya stands by the banks of sarayu –
the flesh on her feet only grains of sand
that waters of time lick & spit anew
as she waits to hold again rama’s hand.
what thought of his has not bled in her mind.
what dream did not have his sails turning back.
she waits past her time while the crowds divined
their lies chasing trails of his untouched track.
lotus of rama’s arrow – see now where it lies –
in dirt in dung in hate & in stone
in blood & in bone & in whispered cries –
only in future can the past atone.
she hears sita’s song of fire & then earth.
she senses rama exile all his sorrows
into sarayu towards a new birth
shedding all strings of unknown tommorows.
maya disappears through the smoke & noise.
from behind poll booths flee the golden fawn.
the crowd listens to maya’s fleeting voice –
rama is alive when you know he is gone.
Sweet lingering thing
of her face
fills up all the curve
of the spoon
as if I eat with it.
I eat with hands-
I sit down
& we eat with hands.
on the hotel table
I make stick figures
which come alive & are body
for their minds.
he keeps taking out tissue paper
that come out for no reason
for no reason she tilts her head
dabbing her lips.
I pick up the spoon
of my face
is all over it
but in the end they bring us saunf
& sugar in a silver plate
& a bowl of warm water
with quartered lemon
as if I have been eating
with hands all along.
the crowd on the beach
is gathered to gather her sacred things.
in the crowd
at the back of it
I hear- she was lost
in the sea & was found
on the shore.
from the front I hear-
only these things float
on the ashen river
only these things can raft
out of purgatory.
I want these to be the bottlecap
she put her teeth to
the end of the shawl she chewed
the ointment for the patches on her back
virgin mary & infant jesus
carved in radishes
somewhere in mexico
the pen-lid she bit bit bit
into the shape of an elephant’s trunk.
is she talking only to me
or am I the only one listening-
you all are gathered
what more do you need?
is it some sort of blasphemy I ask
to kiss a prophetess?
Let’s find out she says
& we find out-
we are lost in the sea
we are found on the shore.
Ajay Kumar Nair is a student and writer from Chennai, India. His work has appeared in Literary Yard, Rattle, The Bangalore Review, and Muse India among others.