Rajani Radhakrishnan

The Hands of the Wind
I hold the hands of the wind and try to read its destiny, the lines
deep like the frown of dry river beds, the faint fragrance of
jasmine heating my senses. It could have been from a bride’s
nuptial bed or a funeral cortege, here the language for welcome
and departure is the same, the earth gives and takes back with moon
petals shimmering in its guts. The wind has a love line so long, it
ties every moment gone by to that evening in the coffee shop, when
you read ghazals aloud in the afternoon haze and a life line that
knew the mountains before they scattered into desert sand, the rain
when it was ripe in the throat of the fish, poems before there were
words to name flowers and silence simply went from weddings to
shallow graves smelling of nameless need. The wind shows me its circular
fate line, karma tied in a knot, what does it matter where it comes from,
if that is beginning or end. I hold the hands of the wind and we sing in
metered couplets, the words for love and life and fate are the same
and Hafez is only a fleeting swallow with a jasmine seed in his breast.

The Unbelonging
These roads are not my throbbing ribcage, these phlegmy buses don’t
cough through my lungs, even this sun casts my calligraphed shadow in

a script I cannot read. But I want this city to birth me anew, want to be
found in its placenta of rain and earth, isn’t that how it will become home?

Isn’t that how I can become its womb? I memorize its sharp angles and
wordless curves, swallow its ancient dust, befriend its scruffy strays. I map
its patterns to the veins that pulse at the back of my hand, the skewed
trigonometry of streets and stars and strangers. I fill its sky with black and
white pictures, yesterday camouflaged awkwardly between its watery
light and spindly trees. I talk to you on its rooftops, the words translated
by a curious moon. No longer the orphan of another time, I am welded
now to this incongruity. Hurry, love, there is no time for another kiss,
another touch, do you hear the voices carry in this unfamiliar wind? This
city knows my hips, it rips my veil, sometimes it even calls out my name.

Rajani Radhakrishnan is from Bangalore, India. Finding time and renewed enthusiasm for poetry after a long career in Financial Applications, she blogs at thotpurge.wordpress.com. Her poems have recently appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, The Lake, Quiet Letter and The Cherita.