The journeyman waits at the old bus station
in the middle of the New Mexico desert
for one bus, the same bus, in the red clay South,
Each day, when his feet touch the steps,
he crumbles into dust
that a woman gathers in Colorado.
Every day without fail
Fine, red powder,
mixed into paint
for her pottery.
This piece is special,
it holds ashes of a love.
But when the warm, wicked, west wind,
tips the jar, he carries with it the ashes,
Sprinkling them with raindrops
that tease a child's corn silk hair
In these sweet spring rains,
tears have no place,
you cannot tell the difference
between a droplet of
joy, laughter, or pain.
Even the strongest of men can cry
without fear or shame, and let go.
No one will ask if he regrets his life.
It is only his secret and the rain's.
These waters bring together in California
both the young and the young at heart.
All great loves are born of this magic.
And when such bonds are tied by nature herself,
the west wind obliges with a loving caress,
sweeping through the spaces between
the fingers of these fragile hearts,
leaving behind the scent of pine needles and juniper leaves.
When the skies clear, the summer dew makes everything green,
and brings color to the mountains. The birds know what this
means. The crisp bite to the air, says it is time, and together they
band their feathers, cradling a newborn child, to bring her east
to her mother.
My dear daughter, this is how you came to me,
one Sunday morning, four summers ago in June.
I tell you this story, so you will know, I love you,
and so you will always remember.
You Are a Soul, Too
There are times
when everyone feels so alone
that there are no butterflies
no pits in your stomach
lumps in your throat
there is only this
there is only you
In these moments
we learn to see
when there is nothing
to anchor us to home
when there is no one
dreams are faceless
the spaces between your fingers long for more
than the whistling wind that rushes through
rustling your hair, with no one to kiss the scent
In this emptiness
there is nothing
to hold us down
We finally become who we are
On our own
And it is beautiful
There wasn't much that I could do
when you swallowed Jupiter whole.
You were already lost in a laundry
machine of waste,
When I found you,
I saw the phantoms in your eyes.
I saw you were waiting,
with the patience of a predator,
lurking in the shadows of your eyes.
In one glistening glassy eyeball,
I saw the spider web of veins,
catching, when you wish to be caught.
I saw the entrails of your soul dredged up
to help you find what you had forgotten,
I hear the tribal chants of something calling
to you. But I can't hear them for you.
I can count the vertebrae on your spinal cord,
I can tap out different melodies on the bone,
flip through the cartilage like records on a shelf,
in a store, like a connected stream of segments.
When we withdraw it is unclear, whether you,
or I is truth, the other, a paltry reflection.
We continue to court each other like a panther,
and its shadow. Only one can lead, one is falling
behind. You think to delve in is to understand
But what you know is a frame for something you
have not measured, which upon exploring deeply,
should only confuse you more. If you seek it the
I can see the phantoms in your eyes, in you.
I understand and know them because it was
I who placed them there with a seed.
For me, listen to the rush of blood in capillaries.
Alaska in the Summer
I want all my dreams to be
like Alaska in the summer.
Spaced far from me with
just enough distance to
keep me reaching.
Filled with the possibilities
of my definitions, and lists
fulfilled to exactly the
Something I have never seen,
but far away from this little
town and the incestuous way
it devours everyone alive,
Forcing them to pair off,
as if the ark of impending
doom, has already arrived.
Can't be disappointed if
reality never intervenes
to break the illusion with
tangible things I have to feel.
I want to stain my face
with lines of war paint.
Sri Upadhyay is a senior Psychology and English major at Kent State. She has been published in Exhalations Literary Magazine and The Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology, and was also awarded the Perryman & Toerne Writing Awards. She plans on achieving a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology, and staying in academia until she finds a job, or her money runs out, whichever comes first.