This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Sally Rosen Kindred, is from Atlas of Lost Places by Yamini Pathak, released by Milk and Cake Press in 2020.
Atlas of Lost Places
Popat the fortune-telling parrot hops out onto grimy pavement, picks tarot cards for
anxious passersby, dines on his petri-dish of green chilies and broken fruit. His clipped
wings dream of flight, scarlet-tipped verdant arrows that spear blue skies, of siesta in the
guava grove, of orgies succulent with wild mango.
I stood before the crowd, a gryphon beating its wings in my chest. I, afraid of the
monster that would emerge. How I uncollared my throat, let the waiting beast spill out,
the stagnant air turned into sonic compressions and rarefactions. How I finally loved the
creature enough not to care who was witness to its unfettered call.
Lie flat on your back, eyes closed, third eye open. Where are you? Are you the gold behind
shuttered eyelids? the knocking mallet at the back of your throat? the hot spots in your
hollowed palms? the lapping waves in the sink of your stomach where a boat rocks
waiting, waiting to carry you across to the unglimpsed shore?
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