Love begins in a country Where orangesweep sweeter And men piss in the street;
Your hands are forever Binding dark strands In a plait. Your mother’s
Childhood friend hassteeped your skin In coconut oil, tucked her daughter beside you— All night the room is a womb, live with twins.
Heat’s bodypressesevery body. Sharp chop Of your uncle’s cough clocks the hours; your sister’s Washing, the rush of your thoughts. Morning is nine
Glass bangles hoisting sacks of sugar From the floor. I’m not talking About a place, but a country;
Its laws are your mother, its walls Are your dreams. The flag it flies Is your father waving away.
Kirun Kapur grew up in Hawaii and has since lived and worked in North America and South Asia. Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from FIELD, Literary Imagination,Beloit Poetry Journal, Poetry International, and elsewhere. She currently lives in Massachusetts, where she co-directs the Tannery Reading Series. (9/2011)