Three poems by Kathryn Hummel

Kathryn Hummel | November 19, 2018

Andhadhi: Play

The last sip of chai means morning is done. You have
plans to abandon. Tables are being wiped clean around
your presence, an uneasy obstacle concerning all and
none. Do not look past the vine leaves for the darkness.

Darkness, of the exact amount required, can be found
within your pocket. Transact – remembering to dignify
your transactions. The canopy labours densely to resist
returns, protection from misadventures into the past.

Past the empty tables and chairs set beneath, the street
shows through the window: light and dust, a glut of tea
drinkers and two-wheelers, lined up as neatly as the sun.
Whatever’s present is a scene to endure, not repudiate.

Repudiate grandeur but not its waning; voyeurism rather
than curiosity. The loss of motion really grants no other
purpose. Embrace it like suffering, or the fricatives of
bravado. You are the sole impresario; this is the play.

Play along with every imprecation. None should appear
unscripted. The street is only a stage in your dreams of
another country. The scent of lilies in the shade opens
your vision, each phase within manageable reckoning.

Reckoning any further might reduce your grit. Be at
ease with calamity – read over old lines but don’t vex
the same themes. Action always carries over until
needed. Every scene is assured; in no way the last.


Choosing to be forgotten is as easy
as surrendering to earth

a damp hollow
a common resting place –
clay stroked with agile fingers, sides
smoothed with dips of water
from a shared bucket

Returning wholly
requires more time
than power

kurta abandoned, bareness troubled
by the shadowy garment
the mango tree throws over

our skin

inside the ground, our strips
will peel away to accommodate the ants
tasked with carrying off
this flesh and muscle, so
carefully tended
and nourished

Our marrow will be inched out
leaving a grainy channel

a de-
composition no poet
can fully chart
no other planet
can align

Rumi’s Glory

Ecstatic (full-lipped, rose-red)
applies to her blue-filtered
wedding photo.
I wasn’t there
but then, there was her hair
worth its lengthy yield in gold;
a breathless dowry still
to grow
There are few entities
in one lifespan
we wish forever gone:
I won’t presume to add
that stroke
down her back, that
intimacy round her neck
the coil requiring combing
to arrange, always in
caressable proximity
Cut off (styled short)
a change to please
the husband’s new remarks:
his preference for
the tomboy look, his like
of the gamine
The harder you grasp, the bigger
the wreath. Never to ask:
where have your riches gone? or
where is your body?

Where have you mislaid
your longings?

Kathryn Hummel, a writer and ethnographic researcher, lives between Australia and South Asia while editing travel writing and non-fiction for Verity La. Her (occasionally award-winning) digital media/poetry, creative and scholarly prose has been published and presented worldwide. Lamentville, Kathryn’s fifth book of poems, is forthcoming with Math Paper Press.

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