NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2013 - Page 27

5. Lyric Ego 7. Udisthanam Muslin and lavender Under mosquito nets, Nothing to hold—just drops of blood From an ancestral sword. Piercings of sense, Notes lashing time Ecstatic self hidden In the ship’s hold 6. Fermata He rode the waves, Jungli- man with bits of silver on his eyes Head poked with horns, His arms were cut. Bras Coupé! I yelled. All amma could see Buried under a blanket as waves rose Was my black tousled head. In dreams I was a child With hands lopped off. What had I done? No one knew. As the steamer floated to Aden They shot gulls From the cliffs Those Englishmen— On the South Indian coast In eighth century heat Tiruvalla copper plate Marked the morning hour Before the sea clamored And the shadow of the body Lay twelve feet longer Than Sita herself, Littoral burning With sacred fires—passage To a kingdom beyond The peepul trees. Where are those refugees Amma did not want me to see, Gunny sacks and torn saris Stitched together with cord? Breath of my breath, bone Of my bone, dark god Of the Nilgiris, Who will grant them passage? 25 BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE Their bullets flew, Struck a boy Herding goats on high Rocks by the reddening sea. ‘I’ legible Solely in darkness: Shot flames, Anchorage of divinity. BRN-FALL-2013.indb 25 9/13/13 12:47 AM