This plague of ritual

When we first learn / to walk, it is a rebellion / against water. 

is akin to drowning
death. The goblet travels 
palm to palm. We time
her breaths, place petals
of tears before the wood
and brass gods, implore
Oh Lord, now take her.
Open-faced, the Gita lies
beside her. Her bed
is a body carrying
the crushed salt of her
organs and nerves. She,
a soul, the root of all
shadows, the last letter
written by morning.
These are the instructions
of our ancestors, a half-glass
of smoke for us to drink.
But Dida, ever yearning
for God, lifts her fat
yellow fingers to bless
us before letting her
hand sink again
into the cotton body.
When we first learn
to walk, it is a rebellion
against water. She is
becoming water. Soon
her body will seek
its spring. We stoop
by her feet, await her
final words to wash
away our thirst.

KARAN KAPOOR is an MFA candidate at Virginia Tech. They have been awarded or placed for the James Hearst Poetry Prize, Frontier Global Poetry Prize,and Bellevue Literary Review Prize. A finalist for the Tusculum Review and Iron Horse Literary Review chapbook prizes, their poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in AGNI, Shenandoah, Colorado Review, Cincinnati Review, North American Review, and elsewhere. Their fiction is forthcoming in JOYLAND and the other side of hope. Their translations have appeared in The Offing and The Los Angeles Review. They are the Editor-in-Chief of ONLY POEMS.

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