Later I remembered looking up at our window
that could never have opened out
onto mornings thick with frangipani and dung-fire,
nor offered, in the middle distance, a view
of the old banyan by the well,
whose branch-threads, reaching down,
each one imagining itself the core of a new forest,
are adorned with small shreds
of sere cloth printed with prayers
or the hand-written pleas of the soldier’s wife,
who, as we were told upon our arrival,
buried her bracelets one afternoon
and then walked, behind her dark eyes,
toward the banks of the river.
In that life, Ananda, I was the soldier.
This selection comes from Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr.’s poetry collection SERIES / INDIA, available now from Four Way Books. Purchase your copy here.
Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr. is a poet, translator, and corporate consultant. Four Way Books published her collection of poems, SERIES | INDIA, in April 2015. Ms. Gray’s translations from classical and contemporary Persian include The Green Sea of Heaven: Fifty Ghazals from the Diwan-i Hafiz-i Shiraz (1995) and Iran: Poems of Dissent (2013). Sections of the Tibeto-Mongolian folk epic “The Life of King Kesar of Ling,” co-translated with Dr. Siddiq Wahid of the University of Kashmir, were included in Columbia University Press’s Sources of Tibetan Tradition (2013) and appeared in The Harvard Review Online. Other work has appeared or is forthcoming in Little Star, The Kenyon Review Online, New England Review, Talisman, Poetry International, AGNI, Ploughshares, Beloit Poetry Journal, Best New Poets 2012, and elsewhere. She was the founding CEO/Managing Partner of Conflict Management, Inc. and Alliance Management Partners, LLC, consulting firms that assisted global corporations, partnerships, and governments form, manage and repair complex inter-organizational alliances. She is Guest Editor for Poetry at Ep;phany and serves on the Boards of Friends of Writers, the Beloit Poetry Journal Foundation, and the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. She has a B.A. and J. D. from Harvard University and an M. F. A. from Warren Wilson College. www.elizabethtgrayjr.com.
Jane Huffman is a current MFA candidate in Poetry at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a staff editor at Sundress Publications. Her poetry is featured or forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Moon City Review, Radar Poetry, PHANTOM, Word Riot, The This Magazine, RHINO Poetry, and elsewhere in print and online. She lives in Iowa City, where she teaches literature in the University of Iowa English Department and serves on the poetry staff of The Iowa Review.
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