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Visiting Indira Gandhi's Palmist: An Excerpt


Love begins in a country
Where orangesweep sweetness
And men piss in the street.

Your hands are forever binding
Black strands in a plait. Your mother’s
Childhood friend hassteeped

Your skin in coconut oil, tucked
Her daughter beside you—the night
Is a womb, live with twins.

Heat’s body pressesevery body.
Sharp chop of your uncle’s cough
Clocks the hours; your sister’s washing,

The rush of your thoughts. Morning
Is nine glass bangles hoisting sacks
Of sugar from the floor. I’m not talking

About a place, but a country:
Its laws are your mother, its walls
Are your dreams. The flag it flies

Is your father waving.