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Keel Bone

A book of poetry, Bear Star Press


Humming the Alaknanda 

I am descended from a long line of women carrying water.

Only the vessel's shape has morphed

from brass bowl, wide as hips, to flask and strap.

My great-grandmother's toes gripped slippery stones.

Balanced, bent over the pool she hummed the river,

summing the years in her face, the maps:

rice-wash lines, smoke-squint lines,  prayer-for-rain lines,

ache of babies printed around the eyes.

Across the Alaknanda, monkey families hooted

as she lifted the metal bowl, swashing, dripping

down her neck and spine, the water balanced

on her head for miles, long blue sari taming her stride

to miniscule steps.

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