Kashiana Singh – The Road That Winds Up

Kashiana LE P&W April 2023

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing April 2023

The Road That Winds Up, poems by Kashiana Singh.

The road that winds up

without stopping at the river rearranged
beneath my window, the road winds up
into the faceless distance, bending itself
at the edge of the clock tower, standing
stoic at the end of an unmoving south.
above the street, draperies hang upright
like funeral veils they cover the burden
of absent windows, smothering dreams
into forgetfulness behind stained glass.

a home is unstirred behind me, at rest
like just baked bread, it stays within its
walls, as if rehearsing its own aroma, a
raisin’ed crust swells in desire, waiting
to be sliced open, resolute in its casket.

outside, houses squat solemnly in rows
floors rising into unfamiliar skies, doors
hiding coldness behind stubborn stones.
looking out of my window, the river still
passes beneath the bridge, hugging itself

in consolation around bends.
here, blades of grass. ripple
against gnawed shores. sharp.
a pregnant dog births in spurts.
the hibiscus is a distracted monk.
a wailing breeze hustles, two geese
float into languid waters.
bubble eyed fish are motionless.
washing their unformed tears.
somewhere else the dead suckle.
at hope.
bodies are methodically stacked.
in bulging boxes.
clenched teeth, grinning inside.
soundless jaws.
skulls crumbling like cookies.
decomposing crematoriums.
neither here nor there.
grief in-between
living and dead
sputters, when touched.

An autumn witch

I sit at my desk every afternoon, a statue
beneath three black birds, clinging to the
wall in front of me as if in obedience, sky

hangs in waiting, smoked ceramic wings
in attention, hugging their curved bodies
charcoal flesh with eyes, 2 pin-white dots

peer into mine, murmurs of white lingering
on unfeathered figurines, their blind stares
had held me, in that native american co-op

and then in my trembling hands on our drive
home from Cherokee, today it rains, calls
my attention, offers me permission to cry

a psoriatic earth opens up, its manger’ed
belly receives, the autumn witch flickering
on my windowsill, her curled leaves slather

an ochre paint, she waits in patience, till I
hold my cheek against the glass, feeling a
tickling, her engorged presence forces me

to step outside, in mourning for all absent
she fires a cauldron of gold, a loom pulling
at threads
a shroud, a tapestry
of flames

An ode to pain

You move through me, an anaconda
captured inside its own writhing, dark
picking at the peeling bark, your skin

You lengthen into the north and south
axis of my body, your twitching pulses
are electric pin pricks, in every vertebra

You trudge relentlessly, a shadow that
is never erased, only adjusting location
or position, size and shape, foe or friend

You are wounded and raged, your mouth
spits venom into mine, the brine and bile
of tasteless pain simmers, at an impasse

You are overworked, never at rest, raging
with your grimaced jawline, savoring my
imperfect organs into your steel embrace

You nag my foggy brain, becoming a bad
habit, the musk of your presence, solitary
stubborn as shell, you are ritual, and rites

You will untangle yourself, your tongue on
my tongue, your tail meshed into mine, its
slithering fingertips, drawing my breath out

Why I Will Never Kiss You Again

because the sting in my mouth is still unnamed
because the cave of your mouth is a pilgrimage
because pilgrimage is a curse of being beloved
because naming ripeness of desire is blasphemy
the chariots are still racing outside my window
their barefoot gods drunk on nectar of our kiss
because I whimper into infinity, cicadas louder
than the haunting whistle of a humpback, cause
you and I are the flightless kind, holding ground
inside you singes alive the desert, atoms fevered
because I want to continue conjuring your spine
the small of my back finding true north in yours
because the distance between us longs to return
between the utterances of your muscle and mine
because the tapestry behind us is of silken thread
because a kiss is a whirlpool of screams, silenced

© Kashiana Singh

When Kashiana Singh is not writing, she lives to embody her TEDx talk theme of Work as Worship into her every day. Her chapbook Crushed Anthills by Yavanika Press is a journey through 10 cities. Her newest full-length collection, Woman by the Door was released in Feb 2022 with Apprentice House Press.  http://www.kashianasingh.com/
TEDx Talk – https://youtu.be/jzFflaqPrhM       Books – https://linktr.ee/kashianasingh

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