43. losing chennai

Sometimes I wake with tightened chest,
aching already for the whisper of jasmine,
the swelter of heat,
afraid Tamil will never pluck itself from my lips,
afraid someone pry it from my hands while I am sleeping.

How can I write about India?
I regret that I cannot open my chest like a curio cabinet
and show you all I carry, every cowrie shell, every cuckoo.
I know that I will lay
beside you on a summer night and you will hold me
but never fully comprehend me again;
a map, after unrolled, cannot be contained inits tube.

How can I not write about India?
It is like expecting me not to write
about the sea
as it lives and breathes beside me.

There are days I live there so truthfully,
how can I possibly have left?


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