Vikram Masson is a lawyer by training who lives near Richmond, Virginia. His poems have been recently featured in Amethyst Review, Young Ravens Literary Review and The American Journal of Poetry.
You Remember Entering your Mother’s House on an Auspicious Day
On your street: the caps are off the hydrants,
and the water is frothing at the sidewalk drain.
Mailman Lewis is running a rag over his Coupe De Ville
while the braided sisters play double dutch–
their rope whizzing the pavement as they jump.
You cross the threshold dappled with rangolis,
and suddenly you are at the antipodes:
Tamil and Hindi jostle with English in the air
so humid that the coconut oil runs
from the breathless girls’ braids onto their frocks.
And you’ve seen this scene so many times:
your cousins sifting through mounds of rice for stones,
the aunties sweating over a bubbling rasam pot,
a lone uncle crushing cardamom for masala chai,
the whiff of whiskey rising from his skin.
On this auspicious day, a sadhu from India
sits in the crowded living room and asks your mother
to close the lights. In the dark, he whispers,
Can you see the halo around my head?
Your mother, aching for miracles, swears that she does.
You drive down the spotless interstate under a sky
that is ceramic blue, making your way home
to sushi for one and fifteen mindful minutes
on your tatami mat. How chaotic and muddled
it all was — that street, those barefooted aunties
who came running to pinch your cheek
while you straddled the door like a hyphen.
There always seemed to be twenty people
in your long-gone mother’s house. How embarrassing,
you think — all that color, all that love.