Two Poems

Maya KhoslaDispersal

Oak crickets dedicate their shrilling to the stars:
     tireless desire pitched into the jeweled universe
          with the most power a chorus of cells can muster.

Such surges are rooted at the core, native 
     to the multimillion nuclei in each being. 
           To the fledgling dread of a kestrel, preparing

for first flight. To an apple's thump on earth, 
     kernels of yearning sealed in the double darkness 
           of sugars and night-rose coat. Each stores formulae

for longing and reaching with genetic perfection. 
      And after water is filtered, tent pegs fastened, fruit sliced 
           the valley stilled, I enter that world one mouthful

at a time. Up along its rim, the lapping grasses 
     are lighter for the absence of prickly seed-heads 
           quick-released into my socks as I passed.

 

Offerings

for R. Schwartz

A woman donates one of her kidneys, saves 
a life. She awakens at dawn and the world

feels altered. To rise fearless after parting 
with the body's inner sense of bilateral symmetry

is to understand anew that dawn's scissors of wind, 
which slice first light into ribbons the shape of leaves,

will not annihilate them. She can now watch birds 
flickering in the sun and feel the inner magnet of hope

that propels them to snap ties with known terrains,
venture across landscapes never traversed. Migration, too,

is the mind in storm, the mind prepared to shed all 
but the vector between given and received,

between an emptied landscape and one rich 
with sun and nutrients. Still, there's no denying

the half-emptiness remaining. Often her heart 
lingers at the edge of what sang

along the slant of branches now swept clean.

Maya Khosla received the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize for Keel Bone (2003) and awards from Poets & Writers, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and the Headlands Center for the Arts. Her poetry has appeared in Fog and Wood Smoke, Water: Culture, Politics, Management, and various journals, including Poem, Prairie Schooner, and Wisconsin Review. New poems are forthcoming in The Harper Collins Anthology of English Poetry by Indians.


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