RANCHI, INDIA, 1966
A man cannot live well if he knows not how to die well.
Once she almost hacked a man to death, holding his collarbone
As an anchor; a rag picker who played too harsh with our pet monkey.
The bleeding trail he left behind as he ran, writhing in pain, to hide
In the bushes, somewhere
Kept damp in the misty cold, the greyish red fossilized.
The neighbors wound him up in a soothing fabric,
Drove him to the nearest clinic and kept guard over him,
Watching his pulse, dabbing his body with warm tulsi extract.
When he died, the local newspapers went into great depths
To explain the rare kind of pneumonia he had,
The one rag pickers were susceptible to. My mother
Sobbed like a baby when she heard the news
Before recounting the immense variables of reincarnations.
She dragged us to Vipassana sessions, of mindful silence,
Extolling virtues of stoicity.
—from Rattle #59, Spring 2018
Tribute to Immigrant Poets
Divya Rajan: “I spent over two decades of my early life with and in a chaotic, beautiful, eerily sensible space called Bombay, often described as a multicultural mosaic. Because of this umbilical good fortune, my earliest impressions have been pretty varied in terms of aesthetics, literature, and arts. I’d have always gravitated towards writing no matter the place or language influences, but it wouldn’t have been the same. This particular poem was derived from an epiphany I’d had about sense and chaos.”