Poetry — March 18, 2012 21:30 — 1 Comment

Two Poems – Mia Ayumi Malhotra

Sunday in Skagit Valley

and you’re taking me to see the tulips. But there are no tulips.
There! but those are daffodils, crimped trumpets hailing

gaily along the highway. There! but those are dandelions,
dressed in delicate lace. On Caledonia we walk and gawk

at clay chickens cast in copper kettles, ceramic gloves, wrists overrun
with ranunculus and ferns. There! Many-hued teacups, hung

on the spokes of a wind vane. There! Yellow-throated pansies,
fresh as if just finished. In the Gallery & Gift Shoppe, a vase

like a melted breast, nipple hardened to a point.
Is this a local artist? you ask, the Gift & Gallery way

of saying: Is this farm-free free-range free-trade chicken?
Actually, the Shoppekeeper says, it’s from Thailand.

You point to me: she grew up in Thailand. The Shoppekeeper turns
to look, thinking of her four-day cruise down the Chao Phraya,

the elephant rides & long-necked ladies who kept calling,
calling to each other. Under the gaze of Jungle Fowl ($138),

Winged Fowl ($118) and Dodo Bird ($98), I press my palms together,
an old gesture from my childhood of steepled fingers, bowed heads,

chicken chasing and that glorious afternoon when I caught one
streaking past: held it high as it chook-chook-chooked in conquered

chicken-speak, unwieldy wings flexed in upside down flight. Sawadti ka!
the Shoppekeeper calls. A blast of bells wrangles into the street.


As If

this, my wish: to be cord-
shorn, wrapped in white.

My unwashed neck’s been
rung with gold. As if this

were the god whose head
I wished to crown, the one

whose hem I wished myself
beneath. He rubbed my

wound with salt, stitched
me shut like lace. My wild

tongue whistles, I’m all in-
cisor & skull. Ruff-bitten,

tooth-cut, I rustle in my rude
warren, pluck fur from my

belly to line my nest. We
the hunted are formed to

flee, feet furred for speed.


Mia Ayumi Malhotra lives in Seattle and is an acting instructor in the UW Creative Writing Program.  Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in places such as diode, Cerise Press, The Asian American Literary Review and Cha.  She currently serves as the associate editor of the online literary magazine Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry.

Mia Ayumi Malhotra

One Comment

  1. David says:

    The Apology: It makes something evil OK

    What is an apology? Its to say that you did something you did not mean to do?
    So as to say that if you say or do something while drunk or in a rage, or do something that perhaps you can be forgiven? Perhaps you crashed a car and hurt someone. Perhaps you beat someone up, stole their stuff, and left them in an alley for the dogs. So you can say I’m sorry and its all made right? If there were words to make a problem then there are words that fix them right?
    “I’m Sorry”
    No Im not sorry to you.
    I am sorry.
    I am a sorry person.
    I am a sorry life.

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What am I?

Bioluminescent eye
That sees by the shine
Of its own light. Lies

Blind me. I am the seventh human sense
And my stepchild,

Scientists can't find me.

Januswise I make us men;
Was my image then—

Remind me:

The awful fall up off all fours
From the forest
To the hours…

Tick, Tock: Divine me.

-- Richard Kenney