Four poems – by Avinab Datta-Areng

by TBLM

Sunday

Sunlight and anxiolytic flora
drink themselves silly;
an eastern pinch of sky blurts
like it forgot to take its pills.
The worm has wept
all Sunday while you were
reading the newspaper.
Of watering the taste of a fleck
of midnight fruit between your teeth.
Of the hummingbird, disturbed
by the sound of hideous undressing,
again leaving the portrait
of uncut happiness
unfinished in the whorl.
Mist rises toward
the balcony and leaves
a trace on the rails.
V is in the kitchen rinsing
the stained cloth.
Wind bends a shrub,
exposing its mangled roots.
An unsettling wave of sound
rises from the valley:
like it’s time to hear
what has made through;
clouds rushing in like the early
death of someone you never knew.

*

Your Father’s Shirt

For A

No matter how many times I was told
that the russet stain on it was paint
my mind only saw blood.
First blood, then paint, then disbelief.
I never believed you, my sense of worth
didn’t let me, I fathered my fear until
it turned friendly. My son usurped me.
What you gave up slowly revives, greening
above the surface, but the mind
meanders toward what it first sees.
I failed to see your longing for your father
as a footnote to me. How could any love
that drew from within the same source
as your love for him, its dedication, be untrue?
I was deceived by my destiny of fathers.
In my life’s revolutions of fathers, my answer,
too, was disguised in a father, but the mind
meanders toward what it first sees.
First father, then fear, then flounder.

*

Montparnasse

On closer inspection there was nothing
that suggested dehydration,
maybe it was merely our differences
of opinion turning you a pale green.
Somebody must love you like this.
I wanted the forlorn and nugatory cookie
of graves, you wanted water.
At the tomb I saw fresh birdshit
and greatly resisted analogous
strokes of joy with his work.
This would be the last cemetary
we were ever going to visit together.
There would be enough time
for literature and birdshit.
But it was you who said
‘Hey, that looks like a fingerprint,
there on the shit.’
And true enough it was.
I wanted to kiss the bird’s cloaca,
then you, then whoever’s hand
that finger belonged to.
You kneeled beside the tap to drink.
Sunlight, the bad actor, crashed through
the maples. My lines to him I forgot,
my lines to you I whispered into the water.
The tomb gave its best, did nothing at all.
Far at the entrance the guard explained
something to an old woman.
She looked like she understood.

*

Son of

The part of the mind that is
infallible has been unkind
in general to my friends.
I always see them digging
furiously under the shade
of a large tree.
Their parents are, of course, already dead.
And I almost say to myself
“How lucky.” but my mind is drawn
To loose strips of plastic fluttering
on some high branch.
And I say to myself
“dead or alive you’ll be unlucky.”
There is no part of the mind that is
kind or infallible.
Dead friend, friendly dread,
dear sound of furious digging,
day has barely begun and I already
cannot drink anymore.

***