Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan.


House in Tucson, Arizona

My parents will never see the Satsuma orange tree

Or the daughter I gave birth to in October.

In the hills, where they once lived,

Lavender and evening primrose are in full bloom.

The stench of javelinas permeates the air.

Lizards lounge, waiting for my parents to swat flies.

How does one tell reptiles their best friends are gone?

Water trickles in miniature rivulets, from

the Jacuzzi to the pool. The sound is

calm, bright—as my parents’ existence.

Their house, once dark, filled with this light—

what I take to be their souls or spirits singing

to let go and celebrate, as if they’re saying,

We’re in Heaven—it’s this beautiful garden.

Bosch-Creature, After Seeing The Garden of Earthly Delights

I glimpse you titanium-blue,

eyes beneath

a moonish saucer:

floor upon

which a robed figure blows

a coral bagpipe,

and demons

prance their circuitous dance

over your face, birdish

and melancholy.

Let the stars

you forgot to paint

highlight the bartender

emptying the keg

in your eggshell stomach.

Let your legs

be twisted trunks,

and your ankles

rooted inside two green

boats, let them suggest your

Netherlanderish shoes.

After Gordeeva and Grinkov Performed

The Kiss by Rodin

The pair was a choreographer’s dream.

Twist of fate, the bodies hymned like Rodin’s,

the arms and legs rotating, hands working

constant gestures. The fluttering fabric.

Effortless postures. Their secret—his pain.

A pinched nerve, feet swelled inside his skates.

No one foresaw he would die in a month.

Doctors thought the culprit an injured back,

not his heart suffering a mild arrest.

Gordeeva was there when Grinkov fell

seconds after their bodies interwined,

circled the ice. Face blue, the medics tried

shocking his heart to its natural rhythm.

His cells, breath. Delicate, tenuous heart,

muscle enlarged from being an athlete.

What they shared: ribbons and medals.

Grace and synchronized spins. Bodies sculpted

to Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff,

movements choreographed by Marina.

Their glides and curves. His last lift and embrace.

A pair like that happens only once.

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