Ani Gjika

Last Day

India runs away the moment I arrive

       but when I have to leave, it gathers at my feet —

a monsoon that won’t let go, a capricious child.

       I remember dirt, red and soft like bodies of deer.

Statues smile and frown in the temple. Drums so loud

       they beat a god inside me. At the beach, 100 rupees

buys a diamond that can pierce through coins. Crabs

       listen under sand. The wind is an old merchant interested

in making me look messy: More like yourself, he insists.

      In the villages, eyes find me even when I’m riding

behind tinted glass. Here I am scanned.

      Someone asks if I want tea, but I’m not interested.

In the evening, village women come out to the fields together.

      A procession of colors. Small iron pots on their hands.

They will walk back to their mud houses

      after cleaning themselves. I cover a yellow hibiscus

in dirt by the railroad. I wear bangles and a bindi

      and at night I let my mirror wear it. 



“Last Day” first appeared in Silk Road Review, Summer/Fall 2011.