A Christmas song located somewhere in South India. by Ajay Kumar


Undescended- I can see stars, how obviously there          there.
                                                                                         there
The stream is moving. With a quote from the Gita, the temple
announces the hour, the stream moves, an army of ants
on dormant mango leaves, a band of monkeys up the gabled roof,
a half-eaten papaya tumbling down.          All the songs
with snow are lost in the birdcalls of a desi december-
the sun is out soft & diaphanous gold, coir beds in the cool air
full of men with powdered faces, dyed hair, belts fraught
with exact changes for bidis.          Women with a rash of henna,
a rash after henna. Girls with pawned earrings, two thin bangles,
an old old chain repolished in september march may, seasonal
like mangoes on their necks- to the temple of the naked god,
of the celibate god, to the selfless, to the human god. The old
old beads in their windpipes, choking. Their mother eyes raised
in sniffed breaths.
 Jingle Bells in Tamil is charming- neram than, neram than.
I think of Jesus with pipe-cleaners leaning on a table talking
in tamil about the gospels of stop choking yourself with the la-di-da beads,
let there be a cowlick wagging your heartongue.

Shipwrecked- pawnshop boxes sink the deepest, even
the sea is ungrateful in debt. ‘Tis the season to mess up
the word order, speak archaically, a touch of blinking rust,
how the gods are older than their names, how old all this youth is,
how many times all this everything has been felt before.
                     There are things that float & move
ahead in the stream of prophetic basket water,
conveyor belt sushi of small Indian anchovies, sardine, mackerel.
                                 A woman is asking
for sun-dried curd chilies, her laugh three parts resurrection, grandma goes
 to get it. There is a Christmas song somewhere in there          there.
                                                                                                  there


Ajay Kumar is a student based in Chennai, India whose works have appeared most recently in The Bangalore Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, Runcible Spoon & Plum Tree Tavern among others.