Rajiv Mohabir teaches English as a Second Language in Queens, New York,
and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Queens College.
He is a VONA (Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation) alumnus. Rajiv's
poems have appeared in Trikone, EOAGH, Ghoti, and Saw Palm magazines.
Pudding House Press named him a "Poet of Note" in their 2009 chapbook
competition and published his chapbook na bad-eye me in 2010.
standing on a brampton driveway before the threat of snow
the hum of rubber on pavement from the highway beyond the wooded area between houses
fifty-percent-off neon leaflet—newspaper insert, scrapes along the driveway;
car alarm; jarring drum and bass, cousin unlocks his car, slams door
idle chatter from front door crack: the best coffee to wake up to—
roars of caribbean laughter, clap-on-the-back thunderstorm. door slam.
migrating ducks, three at a time, honk streaks in the sky
flakes blow east then fall ground-ward, puddle on exposed skin
her body lies undressed on a cold metal drawer under hallogens, i want her to wear the daffodil-yellow dress patterned in pink roses
one starling lights on an oak branch, a single wind chime joined slowly by another
slowly at first, starlings gain decibels, bloom like leaves, orchestrate a black springtime
wind stirs like out-breath
slowly they leave one by one, the song diminishes, until the sound of just one, then none.
this careening heart is the one you fear barreling towards. you know to laugh low and often taking in as much sun as you can—how you want to grow your skin like a desert solar panel. i am safe to you because you plastered my band-aids—how i am not your only bendejo, just one for right now. you know how to walk backwards through marlboro smoke, the love-stains we just made under scotch. i don't want you to find out i was never more naked to you then. your fingers grasping tightly the heart’s tendons that hold back—when you kissed me sideways.
today i woke up early spring in new room, from a wooden floor painted with rough varnish and splinter heavy. the power was just turned on, the heat lethargic. our life boxed haphazardly. lifeless objects in a studio you will never see.
i threw away your sewing machine. i don't mind the cold—that weekend i took two different lovers. i missed your fabric.
a box is only cardboard, a moon snail shell, a mussel shell, an empty humpback ring box, a naked bangle rack, a conch shell. you no longer live in any of these—i put the conch shell to my ear—
your voice laughing in the summer.
If there are ways lovers are trained to ask
each other questions using formalities,
then I am illiterate. Even the prophet
ascended the heights of arresting verse
when the Almighty stoked a fire in his blood.
Recite. Recite. Tell me in human words,
what is this maddening turmoil within
that burns your imprint into the pith of this body.
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