The Gardener as a lover
Seeds travel all over, sprout
from cracks in walls. Different plants
cohabit in a tub – basil with jasmine,
butterfly pea with honeysuckle.
The inflorescence of the mustard field
leaves a scar on the retina
blazing hours after I remain
blindfolded in a jaundiced darkness.
He never trims a tree,
the branches awkwardly crisscross
arms twist like
an amateur yoga practitioner.
He taught me how to lie
in a patch of dead marigolds
the smell of seeds masculine
trapping to the pores in my skin.
The morning glory soaks in
the blue of the sky till
all that is mirrored in his eyes
is the blinding light of my desire.
The anatomy of a Tamarind tree
All that he owned was a tamarind tree
even the land where the house stood was not his.
So, what is yours? the young wife asked coiling her finger
into his matted hair. His drunken eyes looked from her
to the pods on the tree, her skin the texture of seeds.
Eyes swimming like leaves in the breeze, he smiled:
my mother made me a mirror of earth and river.
She laughed, but there is no river for miles around.
Here it is, he held her wrist. The nerve twisted in
sediments of the memory of her people. The river ran
below the skin of cantaloupe, in the musculature of soil
where the roots of the tamarind tree spread. She saw it
in the spine of her man, the fine branching of blue veins
in the neck as he arched towards her.
Uma Gowrishankar is a writer and artist from Chennai. Her poems and fiction have appeared in online and print journals that include City (A Journal of South Asian Literature), Qarrtsiluni, Buddhist Poetry Review, Catapult Magazine, Curio Poetry, Pure Slush and Postcard Shorts. Her first full-length collection of poetry ‘Birthing History’ was published by Leaky Boot Press.