Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Kabira

hathailiyan ke mehndi halki hoike gayaab
ii sarirwa mein bhala kaa tikaav

You will your house of clay and breath
a fortress. One day, ash and smoke will play fire

games in the courtyard. Remember this hovel
is of five senses —

Does wind stay trapped in a room when its windows
yawn? Without country it flows as river water,

a traceless origin. How can this structure
of earth and bone be home? Says Kabir, “However

beautiful — gold or silver — when the cage
door cracks what bird stays inside?”

                                       The palm’s mehndi lightens then disappears;
                                                        what permanence is in your body?

Credit


Copyright © 2019 Rajiv Mohabir. This poem originally appeared in Kenyon Review, January/February 2019. Used with permission of the author.

Author


Rajiv Mohabir

Rajiv Mohabir is the author of The Cowherd’s Son (Tupelo Press, 2017), winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize.

Date Published: 2019-01-07

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/kabira