a poem by Satya Dash

Satya Dash

Satya Dash

Satya Dash is the recipient of the 2020 Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize. His poems appear in Waxwing, Wildness, Redivider, Passages North, The Boiler, The Florida Review, Prelude, The Cortland Review and The Journal among others. Apart from having a degree in electronics from BITS Pilani-Goa, he has been a cricket commentator too. He has been nominated previously for Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best New Poets. He grew up in Cuttack and now lives in Bangalore, India. He tweets at: @satya043

I’m transfixed by my bloating

abdomen for days until my mother calls
and says your father is sick— his blood
pressure, a cause for the sphygmomanometer’s sudden
excitement, his lack of insulin dyeing our faces
blue and his, a fickle shade of honey. All those terms
I saw him use on the podium at tuberculosis
conferences through my childhood: pulmonary,
bronchitis, bacillus, mycobacterium — now floating
fragments of a body’s fast sinking language; what does
a doctor make of his own sickness? Through nights
at the hospital I note my observations: blithe denial
interspersed with rare admissions of distress, some
recollections in conflict with mine, an allergy
to tears. It’s impossible to forget: I’m a son. All of this

I park aside when I meet you, the kinesthetic
of our veins sharpened by old vows, moistened
by new desire. It’s a miracle how moments
string a necklace— knots of ripe acid and thrill
gleaming like gemmed clusters inside
a pomegranate. My father at home forgetting to take
his pills and here me, in front of my desktop, working hard
to postpone grief, as if that’s the trick to escape it. I suppose
even a colossal mountain pines for a cloud’s cotton candy
to crown its bound opus of soil. Such shenanigans
I need more than pleasures. It’s the reason why
I ask you to apply ointment on any new cuts
I suffer. After healing, it takes months, sometimes years
to mourn these wounds. Even then, I’m not done
licking them. I swear, in and around fear— I remain
an animal. Time to time, I sip from my vial of tears.