Remnants of the Goddess

Vandana Khanna
Let them come for what’s left:
a chorus of bone, river and soot.
Worthy enough. Holy enough. 

Like all the others, singular—or not.
Wanting only for your name to blue 
my lips and call it miracle. 

Our love double-knotted, saddle-stitched
held the world together. Until it didn’t—
all the words you placed in me flushed
and faltered. From memory, I recited 
their worn prattle—cut them clean 
with my bite. The jungle we made in blame 

grew and grew, fed on our melancholy. 
Not even the birds knew to change their songs. 

Related Poems

The Gods Are in the Valley

The mind sports god-extensions.

It's the mountain from which
        the tributaries spring: self, self, self, self—

        rivering up
                on curling plumes
        from his elaborate
                head-piece

                of smoke.

His head's on fire.

Like a paleolithic shaman
        working now in the realm of air, he

        folds his hands—

No more casting bones
        for the consulting seeker, this gesture

        seems to mean.
                Your business, his flaming head suggests,

                is with your thought-machine.

        How it churns and churns.

        Lord Should and Not-Enough,
                Mute the Gigantor, looming dumb

                with her stringy hair—

                Deadalive Mom-n-Dad (in the sarcophagi
                of parentheses

                you've placed them)—

He's a yogi, your man
        with a hat of smoke. Serene, chugging out streams

        of constructed air...

Mind's an accident
        of bio-wiring, is one line of thinking.

We're animals that shit out
        consciousness, is another.

The yogi says:
        you must understand yourself

        as projected vapor.
                Thus achieve your

                superpower.


About this poem:
"The poem was sparked by a drawing accompanying an 8th Century Chinese alchemical text, The Secret of the Golden Flower. To me, the drawing makes an argument for the multiplicity of self, the projected self, the vaporous, ever-changing nature of self: self as smoke. Something of continuous interest to me."

Dana Levin