May 012017

A. Anupama

An anklet

for that sweet light tangled inside
the forest will praise the peacock’s foot

pain cannot withstand your word
or the careless gift of your gaze upon the peacock’s foot

song erupts with ash and lightning
in the air between us: a glaze to the peacock’s foot

whatever you asked the river for
the morning has appraised against the peacock’s foot

demain-matin, the lovers say
as though waking could raise the peacock’s foot

I walk towards you as though
the sweet gum tree scatters gold, pays for the peacock’s foot

I drape my arms around your shoulders—
we fall in phase with the peacock’s foot

if any rose could rise like this lotus,
the sun would smite to raze the peacock’s foot

while still as the forest stands,
Anupama says follow always the peacock’s foot



that separates this world
and opens figs in this world

that question and stance
operates all rigs in this world

quiet that patience and sing
while your voice still digs in this world

not fair to say what gold is
when demons wear wigs in this world

to hide this world in “that separates”
and in stomachs of pigs in this world

the second-nature glance of the jay
stains joy in the amygdala: this world


Inner fire

this world that separates life and mind
could dissolve in the line of jewels

claw-of-the-tiger mark on a breast
carefully, artfully revolves in the line of jewels

the mid-afternoon light plays
tricks when the room involves the line of jewels

leap down from the abacus
and into his arms to solve the line of jewels

vermilion in a stare-down with sky blue on our
color wheel, where our eyes evolve the line of jewels

touch doesn’t save it, nor caress—
only skin surrenders to resolve the line of jewels

his heart-temple and mine fall in ordered silicates,
but into opals’ fire entirely devolve by this line of jewels



hold out a red umbrella to the rain
was the refrain of her song in the broken cloud

drips red, drops clear as birth, drips no matter
the right or the wrong in the broken cloud

wet eyelash steers desire, wet clothes tempt skin
to steal along in the broken cloud

only a moment kissed you back
in the iron gong in the broken cloud

a wheel on a rutted road, shuddering,
and her body a tongs in the broken cloud

she does not bite the day in half, and for you
her light bleeds long into the broken cloud


Corallium rubrum

throw the diamond overboard
and sink into the mind of coral and jewel

somber fish, shaped like eyes,
make their wishes to find the coral and jewel

roses spread their petals like gills,
sweep us into one mouth to bind the coral and jewel

I throw my arms around your neck
and a tidal braid unwinds the coral and jewel

what is sharp and what is soft
and what is desire’s vermilion—the kinds of coral and jewels

your touch only barely escapes gravity’s velocity:
this world’s rind, covering coral and jewel

what oceans, left untouched
in synchronous hearts behind the coral and jewel


Unknotted garland

Of what is my love made, I ask,
‘til dawn pulls a red shade, I ask.

This night is deep as bells in sleep.
Unfair to dress you in tiger suede? I ask.

It’s only a dream, and I need you
soft to my touch. Why a blade? I ask.

Soften your knife on my throat
where all your diamonds are laid,
I ask.

Spill them into my lap, the offering bowl
of your accolade,
I ask.

Your glittering truth stars my thighs.
Is any sky left to wade? I ask.

My dress of silk shushes the floor.
Ripped and frayed? I ask.

And for all your caresses and sweet words
my naked blood must be paid?
I ask,

but silent, with my eyes
open and without compare, I’ve said, I ask.

—A. Anupama


A. Anupama is a U.S.-born, Indian-American poet and translator whose work has appeared in several literary publications, including Waxwing, Drunken Boat, Monkeybicycle, Fourteen Hills, and CutBank. She received her MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2012. She currently lives and writes in the Hudson River valley of New York, where she organizes literary community (, and blogs about poetic inspiration at


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