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Rushi Vyas

I Saw You and I Learned This, Beloved

Sage Kapila defines destruction as cause’s return To this I bow as the customer

passes his finished dish to my hands all line & gauze Mom reads

my palm lifeline says you’ll live heavy and long

before tracing your origin All I hold are crumbs your smudged remains

naan chunk I sneak to mouth before the plate ends in a bus tub Don’t we all

bathe in demise like my fetish smiling at your funeral as I namaskaar

respect to you Bapu my cold nails your neck climbed to arrive at cause I scrub chili grime to Hindi songs your timbre (Tujhe Dekha To Yeh Jaana Sanam)

My elbow shudders at a plate stack white porcelain discs spinning

like jasmine petals in barren fields in a river in puja before shatter I stretch

for the broom smile for reason at flayed remainder my lips mute

laughter I sweep the scattered & squint for any glint in the shards


Proverb in absentia

early to bed early to lies

a man’s mimesis

breath obscured dialect

in the post-shower mirror

razor reflection of the weather

forecast with health demise

with wealth these nails bind

your ties to my collar a figure

of hope clean shaven

leash a stethoscope

to keep another’s heart

in your fist you called

wisdom these gags

a family of garments

left to us to rend


Proverb in absentia

a bird in the eye is worth squeezing the life out of

a body mostly nothing cloaked in rib & feather

a tie ornamented with wings pivots around your trachea

air & bone lined with skin stubble grown waiting

for the two in the bush a grave mistake you say

to keep palms empty like the atoms that mold

a hand out of negative charges groan for form they cannot hold

a desire violent to bond


Rushi Vyas teaches creative writing in Boulder, CO where he has served as Managing Editor of TIMBER Journal and Subito Press. His poems are forthcoming or published in Tin House, The Offing, The Journal, and elsewhere.

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