“How my father prays” & “Colored Paper Clips” by Sneha Subramanian Kanta

“How my father prays” & “Colored Paper Clips” by Sneha Subramanian Kanta

How my father prays

See, how moths eat dark
devour dusk contours
            like raised fragments from a cashmere shawl.
Call me Ishmael, I tell my father
            speak to me in a mouth full of Persian dialects

            but my father is a silent man of great faith
in God. He tells me the ship is at a certain distance from land
because God wills it so. 
Upon the knee of a ghazal
            in pastiche stitched emulsifications of synapse ships
the sea is vacant like land
            there is no grimoire, nor the steady onslaught
of rain. 

My father supervises the symmetry
             of a small-lodging night room in the ship,
             I ask him of the openness of space and the shape
of stars. He cusps his hand in prayer and points etherward.
Dawn disseminates in soft pores
             over ancillaries of his phalange as the warm sun
rises eastward. 

The ceiling of the ship lathers with froth formed dayclouds
my father withdraws to a quiet spot
             with psalms from a Dravidian text  
invokes God from the mosaic of skies,
             and then breaks bread.



Colored Paper Clips

after Mary Ruefle


Yellow is the color of spring and sweet sublimation when everything in Paris drops dead like spring itself were forgotten. The water-braids from mouths of stone sculptures begin to withdraw, stored for hydration before winter. Five hundred stacks of letters from everyplace above and below the equator arrive with the rail at dawn. One of the letters is yours, Anne, describing Nijinsky and his dance en pointe. The rubble of redapple has been cleared by squirrels. Long blades of grass become the cushion where I pick a few raisins and sit under the tall glory of a tree. I collect the paper clips on your letter and put them in my apron purse to recycle. I have the hue of so many – white salt, pink stone, violet lily and now yellow dawn. Our words are one thing, but often, we write with paper clip indicators. To meet you I must walk eight snowhills and pass two forests. I must take the bus with its yellow fuzzy bulb tonight to visit you. Anne, you are missed.




Sneha Subramanian Kanta is a GREAT scholarship awardee, with a second postgraduate degree in literature from England. Her poem ‘At Dusk With the Gods’ won the Alfaaz (Kalaage) prize. She is co-founder of Parentheses Journal, a venture that straddles hybrid genres across coasts and climes. A Pushcart prize nominee, her work is forthcoming in VIATOR project, former cactus, indefinite space, Sahitya Akademi Journal and elsewhere.

Category : Issue Seven December 2017 Tags :

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