SNEHA SUBRAMANIAN KANTA
I want to begin with an epigraph
I heard the voice in Rilke’s throat
in Paris. It was a day in autumn as
I lurked in vacant corners, waded
through crowds thronging at cafés,
walked uphill until I reached a
quasi-green park near Sacré-Cœur.
It was November. The trees were
full with smells of oncoming smoke.
I measured the breadth of emptiness
from the tips of my fingers to every
magnolia wrapped around boughs.
I wore the scent of weather inside
my body like a sacred love. I knelt
beside my body as a sermon of
offering for its insides that opened
like last spring into the damp-air.
I recited segments of Rilke’s verses
as psalm interludes for a woman
without a map, welcomed by blurry
mornings with fogged windowpanes.
I stitched the name of my love
as Paris, the anatomy of bone-sepal
into untainted skin. A window in the
room opened into a pastel-blue
sculpture of a woman who looked
like she was still in love after she had
been in love, after the sun burned
anew, an orb of xanthous filament.
I thought of her as dawn crept past
the rose-garden trellis, stilled portiere,
and as coral sunrays perched past
a meridian on the wood windowsill.
The shape of a remembrance etched
in the body’s exertion, first leaf,
then foliage. Even the cathedral
with an empty backyard at night
clad in gossamer light from the moon.
Rilke spoke of the moving space
between trees. I arrived on the
doorstep of an unknown city
like a scattering prism in dusk.
Landscape is loving. I rubbed glints
of a periwinkle horizon on my body.
Rilke asked us to learn to love the
questions themselves, embrace
the possibility that we may live out
to a distant day. It was not anger. It
wasn’t a wish. Only living this way,
unfathomed by the roaring of
the world’s wear-me-downs, where
no one was sorry for my happiness,
or the migration of swallows.
(i). When another animal crosses this bridge of wood
made of minerals. Every path that leads us to
a divergence. The alluvial composite of sediment
into flares of snow or the postures of staircases or
the construct of a hallway ascension. Ghost-head.
The melting of space as guitar chord harmonies dive
into the process of rearranging particles of air.
Splotches of motion in ochre lattices of birds
diving onto edges of coasts. The raft that leads
to another backdrop. Orioles beneath the bronze
eventide. Another set of antiphonal recitations.
Our memory resurrects across the elbows of rain.
(ii). Ghosts move over
viaducts in wetlands as
finches flit in hearths of grass
amid the warm coverlet.
A ghost barrels the glint of rain
over each frond. The oscillation of
rain reflexive of
compression. A surge of
pause while eiderdowns are taken
out before slumber
in a town of edifice, soot
sediments, oil lamps,
(iii). What would erase smells of gasoline in the lake?
Ghost-chasm. Condensations of tide echo amid
myrtle bunches with knotted throats in the gleam of
parch-landscape. Even the driftwood in gloaming
gilded by the residere onset of day.
What buries us does not wreck us.
sneha subramanian kanta is a writer from Canada. She has been awarded the first Vijay Nambisan Fellowship 2019. She was the Charles Wallace Fellow writer-in-residence (2018-19) at The University of Stirling. Her work has appeared in Waxwing Magazine, Bywords, Contemporary Verse 2, and elsewhere. She is the founding editor of Parentheses Journal. She has received scholarships for her writing from The British Council and Kundiman.
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