by Devi S. Laskar
(Published in the 2014 Squaw Valley Review)
You discuss burial, inheritance,
though I know our bodies will burn,
our ashes scattered to the fish
of a holy river we haven't seen since
high school; our monies alms
for children whose laughter we won't hear.
We argue over science, space,
though we know the stars hold nothing,
dead relics that glint in the rearview
mirror of god's light; all that we are
and all that we will be was pressed
into the creases of our palms before birth.
Blue lights on the far shore sparkle
and beckon, mermaids dressed as women
invite you to swim, trade hands for fins.
I hunger, and your thirst is infinite,
though you know how to cook artichokes,
where to draw well water, how to bargain
with the butchers, when to harvest grapes;
I revive dead languages to translate
my grandmothers' recipes we must not forget.
We kiss and taste each others' secrets
on our exhausted tongues, we are one world
but separate continents adrift
in an electric sea. You're betting
on forgiveness. Consider this as you study
maps, dream escape: I will not wait forever.