Ayodhya, or a Map ~ after the Ramayana

Sanjana Nair

& of the fields, Sita & there we lie waiting, seeds for & though centuries will pass

no one will & the Sarayu gleams silver in the dark & when the fish gather and rise,

we will & yes, monkeys will fly & of them armies make & in the circle of our arms

a widening, so we make canvas and cave of our bodies & we soak the walls

& we tear down today & we tear down yesterday & we tear down tomorrow & we let

the story slide, because the trip south is longest & truest India lies down below & blue

is the color of my & blue is the black of & none of this matters if a continent is defined

by a clean line of water & geography lies about lines for this continent & we drift, but land

is bound & so it’s named like a cancer & oh, how history lies because the truth is

in that dirt some where’s the cure & I say blue by which I mean joy by which I mean divine &

yes, the spine of a sage is holy weapon & yes, the dark is balanced there behind my—

& the walls are caving & I am falling & the story is going & the arms of stars are spinning

and their embrace is closing & Sita sits weeping & the North is calling & the river is waiting

& proof is germinating in a world where numbers have gone mad, but Ram is

and Sita is & love seeps into the dirt & time is the river all aghast, gaping underground

& these secrets are banished to forgotten & haven’t you guessed yet that the naming

of a continent is the naming of loss & you bet, not in this life time & we hold blue sway

in the black dark & we are the soil & if we could, would we & if we had the legs to,

wouldn’t we & the sky is calling & we rise up & we will make dirt and rivers of air

& we are history: this is the map


Provenance: Submission

Previously published in Spoon River Poetry Review, Fence Magazine, The Equalizer and Swwim, Nair has work forthcoming in No, Dear Magazine.  One of the original founders of the Asian American poetry organization Kundiman (treasurer and reading series director), she has also been a part of the performative collaboration between actors and poets in NYC named Emotive Fruition and her piece The Lady Apple, a collaboration between poet and composer, was performed at Tribeca’s “The Flea Theater” as well as featured on National Public Radio’s Soundcheck.  Currently on Sabbatical, she is a full-time professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice with City University of New York.  She spends most of her time pondering how to wander more, clean less, dance more often, travel the world, paint for days on end, and of course, to love more fiercely.  She lives with her daughter and husband in Brooklyn.

Featured Image: “Vampire nights” by Abhishek Srivastava licensed under CC BY 2.0

1 Comment
  • Mara Jebsen
    April 27, 2018 at 7:38 am

    This is tremendous. Brava!

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