Morning Chant: Self-Portrait as Treadmill Asylum
Once boarded on the plane, I buckle.
Turbulence reminds — I have never
piloted a thing. Mother taught me
every sound I know, still,
I say she would not understand
my writing. In the agarbatti
smoke I shun, she mores against
rebellion, scolds in proverb
about the dog who smiles shaded
under a moving cart’s awning
thinking he pulls what moves. Gada
taley kutaru chale, badho
bhar mahre mathe. Moving
sounds absent the signified. What
meaning detains my tail wag? Forgive
that I’ve run from air that carries.
I fainted, and now wake, beside a treadmill
in this asylum of treadmills. There she is,
again, wordless but the mantra above me,
maala in hand, seeds shedding
petals I admire, and in the spirit
of my country, claim mine.
ghata-yantre yathā ghatāh.
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