Leaves fall
Red and ochre
Lines the familiar streets.

In this season, O krishna,
the barren tree tells its own tale.

Silence rings
Still and quiet
Create a known story.

In this conversation, O krishna,
My keening heart sings its own sorrow.

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At dusk, the sun meets the sea
and the flower woman comes home.
I brought the jasmine for you, Amma, she says, all the way from K R Market.
She adds a rose the colour of blood as a gift.

Mother pins the garland to my lose hair
I try to pin the red rose
And the green bangles on my wrist crack, make me bleed
It’s old, the women say, its time had come.

Don’t read in between lines, they warn.
These women know of the ways of the world.
Quiet and humble they rule from their kitchens
Forget love, dress for yourself, they counsel.

Dressing up is no longer a pleasure.
The jasmine is tired and smells weary.
These are not the garlands krishna got me
Heavy, ominous, they take away the light.

Darkness descends.
Love is impatient at twilight, foreboding and full of terror.
Everything is inauspicious, I think,
When krishna doesn’t care.

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Can you hear it?
Like an old patriarch awakening in quiet rumbles
And the smell?
Like the oozing petrichor of dreams
It starts wet and hopeful
lightly on my hair
slowly on the browned coconut of my skin
And onto the green
bangles on my hand
Timbre changing
drop kling kling drop
And in the sound that smiles,
he laughs again,
my krishna speaks
As rain
wet on parched soil
My world is green again.

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Time, like a Facebook post, heals everything, they say.
Before you know it, seasons change.
My krishna is silent through it all.

When the skies are full of red and ochre
Who cares about rain mingling in red soil?
And so my krishna goes still.

Summer hurts simmer under the frost
As winter arrives unforgiving.
My krishna’s silence is deafening through it all.

But krishna always cares, they say.
No one cares as much as krishna,
You can even post it on Facebook.
And that’s when I grow quiet.

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The sea soaks rock in salt
Like a pickle made of raw mangoes
And slowly with a lick of taste
Love blossoms and moss grows.

Just as green, effortlessly fertile,
You seeped inside me, O krishna,
Tangling my life, like thick lotus stems
Under water, in care and confusion.

Now, combing my hair at night, in silence, alone,
I drip salt like the sea remembering your honeyed songs
But your mossy heart is angry and stubborn now, O krishna
And in this cold heat even the rock withers, so how can I survive?

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Love makes me heavy, ponderous, and monochromatic.
I am the elephant woman with a leaden gait.
A discarded sapphire swishing helplessly in traffic.

The weight returns to my body as my gut burns indigo in acidity.
There’s the violet fire of loss even in my breath.
And the slate migraine throbs a reproof everyday on my left temple –

Have you forgotten the promise you made yourself?
You were not to allow gods in your life.
How can you pine for the faithless blue krishna with his many loves?

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Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyant, put on weight and reformed herself.
In these cards, I hold wealth and abundance she said from her tower overlooking Ulsoor lake.
An emotional raven escaped his Poe and fluttered morbidly to the balcony.
“Pay attention to atmosphere, seeing into the future is not just about the cards.
But from these same cards, I will help and heal, now that life is so abundant,”
she said heaving her large bosom and shuffling her deck.
“I wonder why this weight makes me feel blind.”

“Look”, said she, “the colours are green and yellow, yellow and green
Only good things shall your fortune bring. But, here, look at this card.
Do you know anything about the Major Arcane and the Minor Arcane?
No? Never mind.
Just see the picture. You have turned away from the comfort of a water body.
Look at the moon. It’s pale and curved to the right. Clearly, you are in the middle of a fight.
I wonder why this weight makes me feel blind”, she said nibbling on her lower lip.

“The thing with being blessed with sight, you know, is how curved and rounded your body gets.
Everything is written in the stars.
It’s not what you eat or how much you walk or what tai chi you do.
It doesn’t help if you are known as the wisest woman in Europe
With a wicked pack of cards, and the entire world knows you have a cold,
Because a silly poet once proclaimed it.
It’s all in the stars, but even so, I wonder why this weight makes me feel blind.” she said offering coffee.

“Do you have a question?
Yes, your labour will bear rich fruits. Try not to eat them.
One must be so careful these days.
I see seventy percent effort and cloudy nights.
By the full moon give it your hundred
And only then shall you enjoy the sights.
Even with sight, I feel so blind.” she said placing newer cards in a Celtic cross.

“Tarot is in the practice and I have had plenty of it.
I have to thank Eliot for it, I suppose.
All this wealth now, what do I do with it?
My future and my past are so painfully clear.
I no longer even need the cards to report an impending war.
I don’t have to look too far.
And when I look, I am blind.” she said fingering The Sun card.

“Tell me, have you ever considered bariatric surgery?
They tell me there are very good doctors at Colombia Asia right in Bangalore
A stitch here and a tuck there, they say.
Just four to five lakhs, I have heard.
But one must be so careful these days.
Abundance is also a failing, you see.
As is sight. So I only sit and serve these days.
Really, how can weight make you feel blind?” she asked and breathed a sigh.

“Thank you. If you see dear Miss. Bangalore, tell her I am glad she left her husband.
He threatened to kill me, for telling her that he was fond of dicks.
But it’s all in the stars, you know.
I only speak about what I see in the cards.
I made him sit, drink coffee, even when I foretold the rest.
See my swollen feet? Please kill me, I begged.
This weight makes me so blind.”

“He left me alone after drinking my Chikkamagalore coffee, just as I feared.
His cards did not show violence, not even in bed.
His stars, you know, he’d never know true love.
She didn’t matter to him except in the abstract.
But loving, you know, it’s not a good business.
How could she be in love without sex? True love, she said.
One must be so careful these days, and true love makes you blind, I said.”

“I tell you this story so you may grow.
Control, that’s what love is about.
See this? The Emperor. Do not settle for less.
That’s inviting a mess.
One must be so careful these days.
Think, recognise his disinterest with your head.
Don’t let love make you blind.” she warned waving a thick finger.

“Fear death by water. It’s not an issue if you learn to float.
Love, learn, let go, and live. Accept and move on.
My only problem these days is how to scratch my toe.
So I help and heal. Tell people whatever I feel.
A medium even when maximum, must channel.
You can leave the money on the seal.
But to wealth and fame, I am, really, quite definitely blind.”

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