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  • Monologue for a Goddess in Her First Incarnation, and Goddess in the Dark
  • Vandana Khanna (bio)

Monologue for a Goddess in Her First Incarnation

Invent me in the half-opened eye of night, stripped down to the brown of my mind, the wind at my back,

a dark claw. Tell me again I am unforgettable: face losing its composition—skin the blue

of a stranger, spine whittled to shadow, to hum, until I am a see-through goddess. Undone,

my body can’t remember itself: somber knots and stem, bright stalks of bone. Husband, for you, I go to pieces. [End Page 143]

Goddess in the Dark

You kept me hidden in a drawer of wilt and weeds, seeds sprouting sour: where you left the tiger, the ash, our story.

Fire always the prerequisite to love.

What a way to treat a lady. I stayed midnight to midnight, the air a stubborn gem of black.

Bowed my head, practiced how to hold the shattered bowl of the moon in my hands.

The silver sprigs of light slipping through the weave of my fingers I mistake for holiness.

I never catch enough to make it day.

The thorn’s deft nips in the dark mark our love in hot scratches, leave my

happiness scabbed, tough to the touch. I choke down my prayers, the only way I know how to be. [End Page 144]

Vandana Khanna

Vandana Khanna was born in New Delhi, India, and attended the University of Virginia and Indiana University, where she earned her MFA. Her first collection, Train to Agra (Southern Illinois University Press, 2001), won the Crab Orchard Review First Book Prize, and her second collection, Afternoon Masala (University of Arkansas Press, 2014), was the co-winner of the 2014 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in Missouri Review, 32 Poems, and Prairie Schooner, among others.



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pp. 143-144
Launched on MUSE
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