After the snake hissed, a cloud’s indifference snapped
and Mother, buckets of you arrived, coiled as rain. At sea level,
you assembled chipped wreckage poking your left shoulder. Mother,
I forgive you for lending me shape, for cupping the bloom of a forlorn

stone into my sumptuous throat. I forgive you for forgiving me 
into the light I can’t bring myself to face. Mother, I curl into belated
shadow taking your name, it’s no longer embarrassing—I’m butterscotch
blight, dappled with the yolk of runny city lights, Mother, forgive me for I’m
insufferable rhyming trite, my face that curdled for years holy
milk tight, my teeth blotched with blood you parted with midflight.
Mother, I lived on hunger for so long, my appetite is a jarful of air. Spit
muscles into froth when antlers break tide on my pitch-dark yawn. Inside its

whorl, Mother—how did I deserve you? Forgive my clasping hand
plumbing phrases it derives, forgive this slow disciple, its attitudes of lust
descending down stairs, flummoxed, puffing, falling flat at the feet of prayer.


Satya Dash is the recipient of the 2020 Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize. His poems appear in Waxwing, Wildness, Redivider, Passages North, The Boiler, The Florida Review, Prelude, The Cortland Review and The Journal among others. Apart from having a degree in electronics from BITS Pilani-Goa, he has been a cricket commentator too. He has been nominated previously for Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best New Poets. He grew up in Cuttack and now lives in Bangalore, India. He tweets at: @satya043