Undefinable pole. Sharer
of scar: the first

birth water yet unknown
till we met

repeating the planet. Guide friend
in first incarnation

Vimala     nothing given    what
we have between

us is what you a decade ahead
made for us when I

a brand new blinking roughstepping limb
could only barely

perceive, when Michael so cherubic
could sing instinctively

of age. Our scars mysteriously
matching: you arrive at the door

from far: to hold    teach
me in the bath           where

all experience is acquired and the human
now unanimal     grows intimate with

the image: our image Vimala in a second
you change from mother

to brother to father   no rules exist
with us               no protocols

to rehearse no ritual marks
the boundaries         where in a corner of the room

a tape recorder plays The Eagles the foreign
refuses to be foreign and the world

shrinks just to be. Leading chorister you
chart that outer zone

in those notes you send from afar –
once say when America snowed or

other wonders still wonders then – in
that distance and others

like it is
our closeness born relations

become unbound from birth the top 40
countdown shows roar

and whistle across the hard estranging
seas, scars pester and muster

their way back into folds
of skin grow so old

on the very point
of dissolution       and you

the only to whom so much
could be said and heard in the leftover hardness

of what exchanged. And with Lionel
Richie who had been central   quietly

fading from our lives the earth submerging
in the tide    of the years we are

from instance         to instance nearly
identical now and only

closer for the others arrived. Vimala
the spark survives     the earth

survives      John Denver survives
the scars         grow

luminous     you
invented us.


Vivek Narayanan was born in India and raised in Zambia. He earned an MA in cultural anthropology from Stanford University, and an MFA in creative writing from Boston University. He was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University (2013-14) and a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library (2015-16) while working on a book of poems about the ancient Indian epic poem Ramayana. His books of poems include Universal Beach (Harbour Line Press, 2006/In Girum Books, 2011) and Life and Times of Mr S (HarperCollins India, 2012). A full-length collection of his poems in Swedish translation was published in 2015 by the Stockholm-based Wahlström & Widstrand. He is co-editor of Almost Island, a nine-year old India-based journal, literary organization and publisher. His essays, criticism and poetry have appeared in Agni, Granta, The Village Voice, Harvard Review, Caravan and elsewhere, and his poems have been included in anthologies such as The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (Bloodaxe), The Oxford Poets Anthology 2013 (Carcanet), 60 Indian Poets (Penguin), and Language for a New Century (W.W. Norton).

'Vimala' first appeared in Life and Times of Mr. S (Harper Collins, 2012).

Medha Singh is Music Editor at Queen Mob's Teahouse. Send her your reviews at music [at] queenmobs [dot] com.

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