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  • Vestigial Bones, and: Kabira
  • Rajiv Mohabir (bio)

Vestigial Bones

jaunse tu bhagela ii toke nighalayiheje andar rahe tohar jahaaj ke nast karihe

The remnant of hind limbs puppets an originplay that strings baleen to terrestrial

ancestors. Occasionally whales sport hind legs —as in Vancouver in 1949,

a harpooned humpback bore eighteen inchesof femur breaching its body wall. Disconnected

from the spine, what is their function but to rendthe book of Genesis into two? Why regard

scripture and exegesis as legs and fluke,sure to fall away, and not eat beef or pork? Why

do I need Hindi in Hawaii as a skeletalstructure, a myth to hook my leviathan jaw?

    What you run from will swallow you,    what’s inside will splinter your boat [End Page 39]

Kabira

hathailiyan ke mehndi halki hoike gayaabii sarirwa mein bhala kaa tikaav

You will your house of clay and breatha fortress. One day, ash and smoke will play fire

games in the courtyard. Remember this hovelis of five senses —

Does wind stay trapped in a room when its windowsyawn? Without country it flows as river water,

a traceless origin. How can this structureof earth and bone be home? Says Kabir, “However

beautiful—gold or silver—when the cagedoor cracks what bird stays inside?”

The palm’s mehndi lightens then disappears;    what permanence is in your body? [End Page 40]

Rajiv Mohabir

Rajiv Mohabir is the author of The Cowherd’s Son (Tupelo Press, 2017, winner of the 2015 Kundiman Prize) and The Taxidermist’s Cut (Four Way Books, 2016, winner of the Four Way Books Intro to Poetry Prize and finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry in 2017). In 2015 he was a winner of the AWP Intro Journals Award. He received his MFA in Poetry and Translation from Queens College–CUNY and his PhD in English from the University of Hawaii. Currently he is an assistant professor of poetry at Auburn University. Read more about him at www.rajivmohabir.com.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2327-8307
Print ISSN
0163-075X
Pages
pp. 39-40
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-02
Open Access
No
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