MAHAL, [CALLS] AND RESPONDS TO THE QUESTION “WHAT IS TIED?”
[follows a deer the way a breeze walks
behind an unsuspecting deer] 1
[retrieves the guts, a fire
on the edges of her favourite time]3
[dances for and like her meal]4
[sets up her bedding, thanks the night
for keeping itself dry]
[is awakened by stars peaking behind
[ finds the rhythm of this specific cord]6
[names the string a name like perfect aim]7
[notices Ekalavya, between whittling
arrows, finger his worn
string with song]8
[considers whether to smuggle the string
onto the statue’s lap or onto the next of
his arrows gone astray. Whether to walk
up to him with the string in hand or
return back to her day] 9
1 This arrowhead
to the rock
my first ancenstral
2 The strands of my hair
from as amulet.
3 My lean to my mother’s lean
before I was conceived.
The part of the tree I lean with
to the parts I cannot reach.
4 My elbow bend, the scar
it carresses, my swishing swishing
hips. The bracelets made of wind
I wrap around my wrists.
5 My yearning
into this one long sash
two can lay on close:
climbing from knee: over-
flowing shoulder: back to waist.
The sash’s fold like a lover’s ear
at the tickle in my neck.
6 This deer gut string I sing
toward its own
7 The impression my teeth bite into this loop.
8 When strung, the bracing
required, drawn over the hook,
a contract: tree to animal,
like breath. The need to stay
attached, the need to flee.
The muscles built to curl
protection around a fawn.
9 The torque at bow. And arrowhead
at contact point
where flying ends. The hesitation
transfer, automatic, core to cord to cord.
Hari Alluri is the author of The Flayed City (Kaya Press, 2017), Carving Ashes (CiCAC/Thompson Rivers Press, 2013), and the chapbook The Promise of Rust (Mouthfeel Press, 2016). A co-founding editor at Locked Horn Press with fellowships from VONA/Voices and Las Dos Brujas, his current projects are supported by grants from the BC Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. Hari’s work appears in the most recent Poetry In Voice anthology, as well as in The Capilano Review, Counterclock, The Margins, Massachusetts Review, Ovenbird, POETRY, and Wildness, among others.