SELF PORTRAIT AS DHRISHTADYUMNA, REMEMBERING
I’m a bad arrow, a good ghost.
All intent, no motion, no direction.
The target’s wet red mouth leers
before me, behind it a stand of trees
that long to kill me. See how they lean.
My mother’s hands wound me
into the right shape for spinning,
cut my point with her own brown teeth.
I want to move. I want to die.
An arrow that won’t fly is condemned
to haunt the bow. Mother I don’t blame
your hold; I’m the one who can’t let go.
Our shapes, so different,
our substance the same. Mother
I work so hard at all the wrong things,
I labor for no fruits, bad wood with
nothing growing. What am I good for?
What am I—? Good is all I’ve ever wanted
for you, and all I gave you was this rot.
You kill the tree in hopes of a good arrow,
straight flight, strong cut, and yet
always the wood fails on you.
The death hangs on. Infects the new
purpose. I remember too much
of what I was, I wish for too much
to be good anymore. Goodness.
What is it all for?
SELF PORTRAIT AS DEAN MORIARTY
In the morning I plow my mother’s field for more gold,
though I’ve never found any.
Ohio unfurls not far enough west. A brown gold flag
whose waving you only know by how the wind snaps it.
In softdark Pittsburgh nights I dream of another city.
I live by every five dollars,
the way the Beats did it.
I hate my mother for starting too poor and ending too wealthy.
Now I start wealthy,
New York, I love you, I look for you in every alley.
I know you like I know my mother
will give me money if I ask her.
I hate this city
but at least it’s a city. If my education fails
I can sell pierogies I can’t eat.
The only things I inherited from my mother were vegetarianism
and not enough money for a donation to Columbia.
I mean this hopelessness
is all mine:
to be a writer is to render eloquent your own demise.
My veins too thin
for heroin, my arms too fat for prostitution,
I drink vodka from coffee mugs in dorms without air-conditioning
and dream of Foucault.
How he idolized 1960s America
and the Psychedelic era so much he hired a fan to drive him
into Death Valley
just to take LSD. Then rewrote his mind.
I learned too late the limits of my mother’s love; I drove her dry.
My failures are past fixing. I’d be a better poet on drugs.
I love you, Jack, but I don’t like you much.
Divyasri Krishnan is the author of PRIMORDIAL KNOWLEDGE (Bottlecap Press). Her work is published or forthcoming in Muzzle Magazine, Hobart Pulp, Rejection Letters, and elsewhere. She is a Best of the Net finalist, and she reads for The Adroit Journal.