To Úrsula Iguarán
A mouth gnawing at the cemented floor.
The tail a sky of shadow. Between niches
mousing, a scratch of claws. Two eyes
planetting the room
of my conscience. Guilt can take on
many forms. As a hole
in the sprawl of air. A hole
a spear. A throat it makes around it.
A head it wedges in, the mesh
of bone and body it zeroes in on. The hand
that weaves into esparto grass.
Walking as a man does, sad
until you haunt courtyards
for the open faucet, or floorboards
for the ticking beetle,
or the telling heart in spite.
Ever since grandma told me, a civet cat
knocking over boxes of what I have
squirreled in my head.
Rahana K Ismail is a poet and doctor from Kozhikode, Kerala. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in The Penn Review, Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English, nether Quarterly, Contemporary Haibun Online, Usawa Literary Review, POSIT, Io Literary Journal (Refractions), The Alchemy Spoon, Paradoxlit, Farmer-ish, Poetic Sun, Chakkar, Alipore Post, Aainanagar, Hakara, Verse of Silence, EKL Review, Pine Cone Review and elsewhere.