Updated: Dec 14, 2022
By Akhila Pingali
so when the gold in her ear catches the sun, it does not set fire to your eye.
Your body, in circular purgatory—
your body—a weathervane
in a hurricane—
your body of two minds, singular, maternal—
you come out into a clearing after a vertiginous frenzy in a forest.
The silence is of the sun now, a breathing kind of quiet, your breath so lucid you can
see it pooling under the sky.
Imagine the fullness of this knowledge—and now this: a rustle. The shade falls,
oblique and untrusting.
Under its hood, a pair of embers like unmade wishes.
to find the way, marked as it is
with two-headed arrows.
At the shrine a neck hung under a halo rippling electric: pride at the ebb, guilt
at the flow
the priest unspeaking.
What I mean to say is, when a mother is a beacon in the wild—when a mother is a
holy blinking between shadows—
must you thank the light
or must you renounce all
Akhila Pingali is a research scholar and translator based in Hyderabad, India. Her work has appeared in SoFloPoJo, trampset, Five Minutes, Brave Voices Magazine, Tint Journal, Contemporary Literary Review India, and an anthology called Ninety-Seven Poems. You can find her on Twitter @AkhilaPingali.