A prickly platinum river
cracks the bruised sky in
A tree mother dressed in bridal finery,
arms laden with moon flowers,
stands quietly, drenched in star rain.
By dawn, the ground beneath her feet
will be a city of broken dove wings.
The day the ground turns red,
the tree knows it is going to die:
one limb giving way after another
until all that will remain are
a handful of seeds
nesting inside married roots.
knowing its abbreviated life
draws closer to its end,
the tree consoles itself with this:
If I could not walk in my lifetime,
I will bear children who will fly.
After William McGregor Paxton’s Tea Leaves
I wonder if they read their fortunes
For, in the wake of
sleepless nights and sepulchral mornings,
the child who refuses to stop crying,
the husband who has forgotten how to talk,
the misbehaving cutlery and glass,
when the fingers are exhausted from
embroidering alternative universes,
when they can arrange flowers no more,
it is in the dregs of tea
they ask what it is
that they are living for
and if at all
it is worth it.
An Ode to the Bougainvillea Tree
Of all the times
I walked past you,
you never once
told me you were
a church in disguise,
an invertebrate diary,
a letter written in lemon juice.
Perhaps, you did tell someone once,
the sour masquerade of it all
but they would not listen.
Now you have green teeth
but plucked out your tongue
When there is no one to hear your words,
the tongue dies of loneliness.
A Tree Walk in Bangalore on a Sunday in February
inside wintering branches:
a green crescent of a seed pod
tells that unfurling story.
A crow builds its nest
inside a labyrinth:
a little knot of
The sun-fed trumpets are
singing to the world,
advertising next month’s
And pink-soft peepal leaves
peep out from skeletal fists:
a constellation which shines
only during the day.