A Poem by Chaya Bhuvaneswar

Mount of the Dead Men

Sculptor left your stone eyes blank. But you were busy looking someplace else.

No dancing girl, Mohenjo Daro, terra cotta, Indian Jazz Baby, Twenties flapper contraband for bobbed hair alone.

You’re one of us, all the real girls.

Three steps you were supposed to stay behind but you two-stepped, grape-vined, twined closer with a lover’s hand. Moved him out of the way, so you could see words he was reading.

Half out of his mind with grief once you were gone, out of sight, out of mind, he listened to you then, instead of expecting you to look at him.

In fact, it was his eyes that went blank then, listening for words you had to say that were his words, not finding them,

not finding you. No Eurydice, no Beatrice, no Muse, no Magic Bus.

You only came up to here, on him, but had it up to here with him.

And had your way. And didn’t get your way.

As one of us, all the real girls. An Amrita, Arundhati, Mira, Deepa, Mahesweta Devi.

You were a gritty brown bottom exhibiting yourself, telling stories of what the sculptor did. Leaving your eyes that way, so you couldn’t see.

Chaya Bhuvaneswar’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Narrative Magazine, Michigan Quarterly Review, Nimrod, Asian American Literary Review, Notre Dame Review, aaduna, r.k.v.r.y., Redux, Bangalore Review, and elsewhere.

The Poetry Section is edited by Mark Bibbins.