maybe that’s how poets become thieves. when
we taste you with another man’s eyes, a poem
toothed, gnawed through when offered: shabari’s
fruit. now we unravel battlefields, ferret through
history, limbs tripping over vertebrae just to feel
lightning slip a long, jagged finger across our
tongues again. i was going to make this a poem
that had nothing to do with bodies, but breath
has too much memory for me. look how bones
slough so easily into phrases, throatless.
i’m told this is the worst way to mutilate myself
into sanjaya’s last oath. even pootana touched you
only by giving up her breasts. except i learned from her
how to mine you by sitting and tallying unclaimed
exhales cornered in ribs. maybe that’s the secret
to sainthood. how a body can memorize you
better than poems. how a death can love you
like wheels printing earth.
Sharanya Sharma is a writer and teacher from Washington, D.C. with an MFA in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Margins and The Black Warrior Review, among others, and has received honorable mentions for the Academy of American Poets Award and the Bain Swiggett Poetry Prize. Find more of her writing at www.sharanyawrites.com.