Jan/Feb 2016 Poetry

Two Poems

by Arjun Rajendran

Artwork by Marie Massey

Artwork by Marie Massey

Gangtok, 1989

For Goutham

In a bookstore, that foggy afternoon, I espied
a brand new issue of "Archie Andrews,
Where are you?"
She said no. I couldn't have
it. I ought to have let it go, been more like
my cousin beside me, ever so undemanding
and contained. I ran out instead, cussing, desperate
to make a point. The rage deflated
only at the street's end, amongst strangers
and chow mein. I started walking back, panic
throttling my senses, and reached the unknown
as an ant lost in a bellybutton. Anguish
irradiating from rooftops. I wept around
the traffic of pedestrians, to the snow capped
nonchalance of Kangchenjunga, unable to get
past "Where are you?" "Where are you?"



My mother gave up mangoes
after I nearly got killed
on the freeway. It's a deal she's struck
with god, to protect me in exchange
for the one thing she cherished.
It's now been years since
she last savored a mango,
since that accident when I was
almost pulped by a truck. So my luck
doesn't run out like the juice
once did from the corners of her mouth.


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