Two Poems

by Hari Alluri

Hari Alluri (he/him/siya) is the author of The Flayed City (Kaya), Carving Ashes (CiCAC/Thompson Rivers), and the chapbook The Promise of Rust (Mouthfeel). A winner of the 2020 Leonard A. Slade, Jr. Poetry Fellowship for Poets of Color and a co-founding editor of Locked Horn Press, his current projects are supported by grants from the BC Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. His work appears recently in Anomaly, The Capilano Review, Poetry, Pulpmouth, and Quiddity, among others.

 

To Splinter Its Healing

after Natalie Eilbert

 

The aerial roots of this banyan tree are calcified in their growth. No longer reaching the ground anew, somehow still seeking nourishment. The leaves stay pointed where they point, are slow to follow sun, whose sight-path patterns staying same means the earth still turns. It’s only this: this small un-quickening, the timbre of sap gone hard. The former roots that grew into new trunks, thickening to widen the original one, so strangely welcoming to human hands, I still could climb to the extent my joints allow me. Could still shift out onto branches, even down. It’s only that my desire to swing is emptied of its faith: the vines can’t bend to take my weight, are brittle. Firm is the concrete base that keeps the 500 years of this architectural marvel in place. Would it be enough to pour some water? Enough to pluck a fig elsewhere, bite into that fig? Eyes closed? And let part of its core of seeds fall here?


Attend: Guava

Memory

Before I was a permanent immigrant,
I was a sometime guava thief
from kind neighbour and village tree.
My hands still know their heft,
these ones that run red inside
bruised at parts, yes,
yet not those bruised ones
at Fruiticana Grocery, piled
in plastic baskets, emitting
their unripe and rotting
versions of our distance
from where they grew.

*

Meditation

like Donne’s invisible shadow of love
at noon. The lightest tinge holds this fruit
back from peak sweetness, a yellow which lives
at the soft border of dying.

*

Myth

If I believed in from or home, I would sacrifice
the taste of belonging for a guava tree.

*

Myth

Eyes concentrated on the imperfect
spheres, bow-legs balanced wide, right hand
holds the branch my right foot presses
vertical against, left arm stretching
out to open-grasp, not enough like Hanuman
when he jumped to pull the sun into his mouth.

*

Memory

The cluster-seed, shredded,
bulbous, holds each mark
in the next mark as I bite,

chew, stare at the empty space
where the guava fragrance lingers
as if my teeth have blossomed.

*

Meditation

As long as errant guava seeds lodge themselves in teeth,
fruit flesh aroma residual on tongue, grateful I will
keep on remembering no one knows correct
why we love who we love how atmosphere bends—
reticent as a payphone wire—all the way back round,
twingeing the midnight darkness
behind all starshine, behind all hunger.

***

 


Hari Alluri (he/him/siya) is the author of The Flayed City (Kaya), Carving Ashes (CiCAC/Thompson Rivers), and the chapbook The Promise of Rust (Mouthfeel). A winner of the 2020 Leonard A. Slade, Jr. Poetry Fellowship for Poets of Color and a co-founding editor of Locked Horn Press, his current projects are supported by grants from the BC Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. His work appears recently in Anomaly, The Capilano Review, Poetry, Pulpmouth, and Quiddity, among others.

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