Born in 1983, Amit Parmessur is a poet and teacher. He has been published in several print and online journals. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web nominee, he lives on one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Mauritius.
I wonder if, in the dark night of the sea,
the octopus dreams of me. — N. SCOTT MOMADAY
When she swirled and settled on the bench, it took
her yellow dress less than eight seconds
to spread on the grass, as if she wished
to spread a new culture.
In the next eight seconds, her smile spread its
tentacles with strong suckers;
she soon seemed poised
to give a painless bite to the whole planet,
with her eyes sitting behind her large sunglasses,
like something preparing to escape
behind clouds of fleecy ink.
Even if you had three hearts, she
would rub the brininess of her beauty on them and
you might not last more than a few seconds.
Even the nearby tree that had lived
its life like an upturned octopus understood that
it was nothing compared to her. There was no place
for mimicry or rivalry.
She knows a healthy ego is unhealthy.
She doesn’t have a namesake just for the sake
of a game. She stands tall and isn’t among those
to duck so that her man can see other women.
Her dusky skin had squeezed itself through
the meanest moments only to emerge in her own garden
with more shine and generosity.
A little water, she clears us all.
THE WEEPING ROCK
Tears are best dried
with your own hand. — AFRICAN PROVERB
Off we go again, hand in hand all the way, away
from our own waves and stranding. Time to harvest
the mildness and fatalism of that place without reefs.
I’ve heard too much of La Roche Qui Pleure.
I’ve heard too much of the nun atop that cliff,
and of her impossible love. Has that large basaltic rock
really taken her shape to keep weeping for lost love?
We’ve not heard why she ended her life there. We’ve
not heard why she threw herself into the furious waters.
Time to hear the Souillac sea crash and rush
into the gaps of the cliff to lick some truth
or deny some falsehood.
Or might the waves whisper a new melody? I hope we’ll
not see a man crying instead of an imploring Madonna.
I hope you’ll not stand on the golden sand there,
puzzling it out, while I end up poetically transfixed.
We might return home and forget how to stay
gloomy and moody for the rest of our marriage.
You might become the beloved partner
of the kindest cartographer ever, not the witch punished
for having eaten one of her own.
We might return home and have more moments of
fatal mildness, like you chopping a mushroom
and the earthy flavored water jetting into my nose.
For there to be betrayal, there
would have to have been trust first. — SUZANNE COLLINS
We wobbled confidently down the street on
our rusty bike like three apolitical musketeers.
We sang until we reached the dirty village canal,
with our ambition of a thousand wild guppies
with colorful tails bulging.
Once there, the sunlight through the tall weeds
blinded our bravest attempts. We attracted the
malicious scrutiny of the people around, with their
clean curtains fluttering in the cold breeze that bit
our backs like darts hitting a large bull’s-eye.
Blocking the canal at two different places, without
skill or bait, we extinguished the fire of those fins that
threatened to fly away. We tossed the jewels into
our leaky bucket. This time, we didn’t catch any
holed and mossy underwear.
With the waters still making a muddy fuss over
our invasion, we sang and sang until we reached
home for some politics. Our drunk uncle passed
by, slurring beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder.
I told him to mind his constipation and eat two
soaked dried raisins daily.
A beautiful fish with a red tail for you, cousin!
A beautiful fish with a yellow tail for you, brother!
A beautiful fish with a blue tail for me!
Dear gap-toothed cousin, don’t protest like that.
Chasing lost causes causes endless chases; there’s
nothing fishy going on. Two brothers are one, yes,
but we commit fratricide when it comes to fish.
How your eyes shine whenever I drop a fish you
wish for into my little pail. Don’t be jealous cousin!
You won’t ever know how the brothers become one
when you leave. We’ve only one fish tank – what to do?
But imagine our discolored faces when many of
our fish are upside down the next morning, while
yours are in the pink and filled with fire.