you are in the diode archives winter 2011




they say you must abolish your self. 

others burn their lack with bourbon,
fall into the easy incandescence
of the night.  they juggle their intoxication
and selves, a furious circus.
they scare off what they seek.

but you—you are here for me.

among my many selves
i keep you close to me—
a dazzling future tense,
a pastless, unrelenting be,
a footprint sandstorms disappear.  

some say forgetting is just another door.
tell me, dear one, tell me again,

just what was it i was looking for?



step over the threshold
where i wait for you.  a tongue cleft from stone
am i that bled

when cut by a farmer’s scythe. 
cradled in his arms and fussed over
like an only child,

my wounds stanched,
they plied me with sweets, dressed me
in cotton stained with my blood,

fed me their pain
like milk as i devoured their years,
feasted on their loss.

temple walls rose around me,
humans like flowers at my feet.
Sculpting the seashell’s hull to infinity

i am where monks astonish themselves—
am the truth from which you try to hide:
you are your mother’s death.

yet you still come before me as if i were a key
to the door—
your door.  your mother’s.

i am her last mouthful of breath,
her gasp, her moan
i make into a hymn for you now:

the hum of skin
sweating against skin. turn to me, next to you
and tell me of yourself—

i want to hear,
i’m one of the few—

don’t turn away.  


Vikas K. Menon is a poet and playwright whose poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications such as The Literary Review, New Delta Review, MIPOESIAS, Bitter Oleander, Catamaran, and the Toronto Review.  His poetry manuscript godflesh was a finalist for the 2010 Kinereth Gensler Award from Alice James Books. His poetry has been featured in Indivisible:  An Anthology of South Asian American Poetry and is forthcoming in The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry by Indians.  He is a board member of Kundiman, the first organization of its kind dedicated to supporting Asian-American poetry, and is the Resident Playwright of Ruffled Feathers Theater company.  He received his MFA (Poetry) from Brooklyn College and his MA in Literature from St. Louis University.