Morning Chant: Self-Portrait as Treadmill Asylum

Rushi Vyas



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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