If There are Gods – age 30

My cold hand clutches the tiller, hip against the long cracked wood,

wondering when it will break. The tides push from below, wind

cupped inside the long sail, pulls from above. We are smaller

than a whale yet larger than a shark, this boat and me.

We have a destination. We have a GPS guiding

me with small electronic arrows.

I guide us, yet I cannot help but notice the sea

on all sides, trying to steer this vessel, this body,

to its own designs.


We exist here because we are allowed.


We are given this gift of water, shrinking us down to a speck.

We are smaller than birds without wings, without their means

of survival. If the sea decides—

it can swallow us.

Pull us down into liquid silence.

Our bodies, crumbled and scattered over reefs,

to be devoured slowly

by alien fish.


If there are gods anywhere on this Earth,

They are not on mountain tops or windswept plains.

They are made of scales and fish bones. They have

tails and gills, and when They cough,

a tsunami destroys a city or two.


If there are gods, They ride blue whales to secret caverns

where everything glows in the dark, where

the fish believe light to exist only within their bodies, lining their blood vessels.

Light is their voice in the darkness, their only form of communication

besides their teeth, ready to devour whatever crosses their path.

If there are gods, They commune

with such creatures, slip past them as liquid shadows, unseen

against the deep dark, grasping their whale

chariots from below.


If there are gods anywhere on this Earth,

They live in the sea.

As I Sleep On – age 26

I write about ants because
of how they found me:
Half-naked on a stained mattress.
A sari falling around my body in waves of dark green.
Fabric against blood-colored sheets.
I heat turmeric paste on a little spoon,
and dab the hot yellow substance
over blisters that are scattered across my arm in a sort of quiet
against South Indian heat.
Papaya trees like tall spies with messy green hair
stare in through the window.
I lay back.
Fall asleep by the light of a candle slowly
burning down.
Wiping sweat in my slumber.
Not noticing the tiny procession
of ants, crawling in from the doorway.
A wavy line across the black tile floor.
I am blind as well as deaf and sleep on.
The ants find my limp arm across their territory on the floor
and rejoice as they climb my mountain of skin,
smelling the puss leaking from my yellow crusted spots
and excitedly dive into its moisture,
licking                   eating                   drowning
in the succulent excrement of my wounds.  
*When I was 25, I spent 6 months in South India working with my dear friend Ann of Auroville’s Animal Care for the third time since the age of 19.  This trip however, was one filled with grief and desperation.  Ann was in the process of dying from colon cancer in a nearby hospital while I looked after some of the village dogs.  South India in June is often over 100 degrees.  I broke out in blisters and woke up more than once to what happened in this poem.  It’s always been a special poem to me, and since no journal has published it yet, I like the idea of it existing here.

“The Door to Love” – age 10

We were walking on the beach, he and I,
the moon shone brightly in the black-colored sky.
We walked slowly, hand in hand,
letting our feet brush through the sand.
In the darkness, we saw a door.
We knew it was a door to love forever,
if we walked through it, we would always be together.
We tried to think, quick and fast,
when almost all of our time was past,
we ran to try and catch the door,
but when we got there, all we saw
were the waves crashing ashore.
 *Author’s Note: I wrote this at the kitchen table while my mom was cooking.  I don’t have a whole lot of lucid memories from my childhood, but this one is one of the clearest.  I had just read through a bunch of my mom’s old poems from High School and I was inspired to write a love poem, even though all I knew about love at the time was from Madonna songs.*