Nature, too, is self-consuming. Even the grandest oak of all southern Louisiana will be uprooted in a hurricane. The moss that grazes the water with gentle finger tips from those weary branches will be swallowed by the water. An old man's life spent in Houma is reflected in the river currents; his house built on stilts across from the cemetery where is wife is buried next to her eldest son. It meets the Mississippi not surrendering, returning
I will never tell you how I imagined my suicide in the shower How I watched myself take the frozen metal rails And lifted my one shaking leg over the bridge And stared down at the ice cold, daunting gaze of the great Mississippi How I closed my eyes and pictures your face While the cold pierced my skin and my woes pierced my heart I will never tell you the effort it took to slid my other leg over the railing and step into my coffin Watching the river crash it's arms against the ice I will never say how terror gripped my insides knowing that this beast would swallow me whole Yet knowing I cannot swim gives me comfort Once I fall the water will push me under, beneath its arms and into it's belly I will never tell you how time froze as I fell My face casted towards the stars The cold wind holding me suspended in air for a few granted moments as I whisper my goodbyes Goodbye moon, my lips shake against the syllables Goodbye love, my eyes damp with defeat Goodbye fear, my heart thrumming in my chest Goodb-
Yesterday Was in the ecstasy Of realizing that We were Those two On earth Who liked bitter gourd curry Cooked with coconut milk ….
Remember? Think it was In the sixth life. We were Two nascent bitter guards On the pandal Spread in the northern corner Of the farmland Belonging to a grandmother In a village in Mississippi Who used to attend to the orchards Sitting in a wheelchair.
We had Watched earth And peeked At the sky Hanging from the same stalk The scar left From your tight clasp on my thigh Scared After spotting a double tailed pest Is still there.
The pleasure of that pain Makes me tearful now.
I am like the faces In the house of deceased Sobbing At times Bursting into tears The next moment Holding back After a while.
Sometimes I am all the faces In the house of the dead Tears have Nothing to do with them.
Sometimes The wedding house Will laugh and laugh Till its cheeks hurt.
Just like you.
My dear bitter guard, When will we Go back to that Pandal in Mississippi Where we had pulsated From a single stalk?
Aren’t we the ones To offer obsequies To that grandmother Who looked after us With pots Of wholehearted love?
Translator - Shyma P
Shyma P : Works in Payyanur College, Payyanur. Translator and film critic. Has translated poems and articles in Malayalam Literary Survey, The Oxford India Anthology of Malayalam Dalit Literature, online magazines like Gulmohar, Readleaf Poetry as well as scripts and subtitles for short films.
Father and son. Both verbs when you abbreviate their names. Share a last name of course. Even a first letter. One, the current homophobic governor of Mississippi. The other, a happy interior designer of Austin.
I wish in my Mississippi public school I could teach, That Shakespeare ain't got nothing on this kind of irony.