Since hesitations and breaches in my written speech mark the shrapnel: places in my
fundamental skin that beckon love, touch, cleaning, cooing, surgery. The red tears; red, torn skin
calls out for a story, remembering, healing.
In another way, every time I write, the impulse to write has moved on / I am trailing the old
impulse, its tail reminding me of origins and remnants, the archaic and the archetypal, while the
mouth of snake is ready to swallow me.
Mouth of snake suckles me as I close my eyes, ready to faint.
What keeps me awake is this delirium: poison that slowly like treacle through my veins
transforms into a mass, a movement, living tissue, breath and blood.
When I rendered myself to her, I knew this was it: this surrender.
We don’t talk of what must be eliminated. The rectal.
I eliminate the poison of fear every time I let a word, single letter or five, drop. But letters
contain in them a warning: remember, remember.
I don’t always remember. Perhaps this is nothing a child does not know, but in maturity, trees
standing in their windboughs learn to turn away. The longing is too deep. We cannot fall into
longing where to cry is forbidden: paralyses of one kind or the other.
In the beginning of time, a poet lived with her family. The family loved and cossetted her, kept
her away from housework and farmwork and roadwork, kept her away from duck ponds and glo
moats and train yards. She with letters dancing before her eyes. She with letters festooned on
bedposts, she with her skin laid out on the bed.
In the beginning of time, the poet knew not where to go but paid attention to the call of time.
Time called and sang winds to her and she sobbed until time could curl her in its large fingers
like a fragile rag. Time let her see. She gave up her eyes.
In the beginning of time, where no one lived but stark winds, too busy eerie to pay attention to
the small figure—running and running.
When I fell down, someone reached out and picked me up. And there I floated, there I lay. There
before the mouth of time.
Myth of Knowing
A hand at my throat measures
Knowing curls like unmounted
I pull out all the cotton from
My frenzy is unmatched
A fear starts at the corner of eye
& finds me
I taste placenta in your tear
So much coal blackens my head
with inextinguishable laughter
You are silent
I’m a stalwart thief of the garden
This heart burrows into a raw well
whose live voices
catch in throat
a frog, tongue leaping
pale blade cutting through matter
Eyes pooled with bigness
so much to see
so much this world
I remove the nose I had found from my face
In the absence of teeth, you peer in
A fallow deer spotted with forest lives here
Sound teaches me to grow a story into a boot
I put my finger to your lip
make bird gestures
wing, not even limp but a dot
Wrecked by your fair sandals
what a scandal
The angels were to have sung
bleak as my eye
Get this this thing out of way
& way may come through
& mind keeps wanting to direct
in directing, I lose
Shimmying down the fan in the middle of room
blown to pieces by a satin eye
Once I shimmy down, I’ll land
closing my eyes it must break open
Myth of Light
Phenomenal filtering of whi
te, spry as my
I breathe in world
each night each
stone each love each wa
breathe world in
flickering like porous
~ film ~ strip
p a l p
able as living itself
its substance meets my eyes
& world cries I cry
fishes nudge side of my
head their iridescents
purple thump rose thump
O what lives
wash down my body
wash me down
run run trickle down my temples
like b l o o d b l o o d t h i c k e
r your ropes turning
I am full
it runs across my face
runs across my arch
Monica Mody is the author of Kala Pani (1913 Press, 2013), which was selected by Shelley Jackson for the 2010 Sparks Prize postgraduate fellowship at the University of Notre Dame. Mody received the 2007 Zora Neale Hurston Scholarship and the 2006 Toto Funds the Arts Award for Creative Writing. She has also published two chapbooks of poetry and cross-genre experiments, and work in The Harper Collins Book of English Poetry, &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, Boston Review, Eleven Eleven, The Volta, Dusie, MiPOesias, and Wasafiri, among other places.