A GENTLE SWALLOWING
Kali, a Hindu goddess of destruction, is often depicted with a lolling tongue, which she may use to swallow warriors or drink the blood of demons.
Would you accept a gentle swallowing?
Assuming tenderness of course because sometimes an open mouth says welcome sometimes a void waves us into the glistening sheen Imagining a space outside of time where forever means ruination where we stand before an event horizon & do not pause before crossing the threshold Whirling round and round premeditation: how to devour back the rushing loom on which the universe was strung fingers gliding across the tautness — plucking a sound to last long after it lies deep in the belly of a black hole. Knowing the impact of a body is only the sound of a dislodged soul inside the ossuary of a ribcage something calcified unhardens like a coral reef becomes bone-white upon death ready for dissolution every knob of the spine opens onto an unlit doorway Wading through sloshing marrow a key glimmers ahead the serrated edge of teeth clicking into place amber could hold an ancient secret for a thousand years & I am wondering what the blood could bury Taking a mouthful of abyss listening for the unclenched teeth the labor of feeding the tongue slithering belly-first for scraps the rust growing like moss on buildings the tunnels spiraling lights into infinity any one of these — your mouth, also — a portal & your body itching to barrel through.
AFTER THE GODDESS OF TIME ABANDONED US
I became fused to potential futures, heritage of some
unborn daughter, or else razored teeth cutting through
decades of distance. I felt the coming of a contagion,
as if my body were gestating a fatal plague. I looked
inside myself & grew to worship the rage thickening
my blood so that it mounted my heart & unfurled its
ribbons unto the earth. I wanted to throw blades into
the rifted past, feeling that this power, harnessed, could
outlast us all. I imagined, in the end, that the earth’s core
could be coaxed out of its sodden cave to see all that had
transpired in the name of the half-lives, bodies alive &
presently decaying. Long after the descendants had left
the days to fester, begrudging the earth even a soft tilt
to its rotation. What other end to a world built from all
bend & pillars of break? Every beast has a belly & all of us
here were still animals, once-conjured contours of swollen
desire. I filled mine to loom large, to one day be an heirloom for
myself, still yearning to gift the future some recognizable shape.
Nina Sudhakar is a writer, poet, and lawyer. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks Matriarchetypes (winner of the 2017 Bird’s Thumb Poetry Chapbook Contest) and Embodiments (forthcoming from Sutra Press). Her work has appeared in The Offing, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Reservoir; for more, visit www.ninasudhakar.com.