you are in the diode archives fall 2010



Lover Come Back To Me

Curiosity flared—
His journals cleared up nothing:
nonsense dreams, conquests

labeled hot sex: scenarios
impotent as flatware. 
Friends, I was a fool—

I confused blankness
for mystery. 
Do you think I want him any less?



Once there was a murmur, low
and distant: an electric storm softly
rumbling.  Heeding its signs the king

wrapped his son in asbestos whites.
As if monarchs (or fathers) could rule
the mind and keep it from ranging.

So it was with the prince, who left
his child sleeping in the crescent of his wife.
I’ll find the way for myself and for others. 

Why is it men suffer? 
That’s still the thing to ask, heart folded
lotus petal style, in Deer Park, in Sarnath,

under cloud-sized Bo trees.  For men still
botch their lives and leave their wives.


In Brindavan Woods

She waits for her blue-skinned god.  Night ringing to the sound of anklets.

                  Of you I dream
                  Of far-off featureless hills

On his wooden flute he plays, a tune to still the gopi’s ankle-bells. 

                  I remember the first time
                  You were the one tree in a meadow

Entering, she vanishes into night-blue skin; lotus eyes lamp the dark.

                  I’ve never said this to anyone
                  The twilight sky is no match for the flame tree

On the green at the water’s edge, envy spreads like a marigold dress.

                  Why won’t you come?  Tonight
                  only the cricket trills in his grove

He plays all night and into morning: first rains drenching Kangra hills. 

                  Can’t you be like the parched earth?
                  Patient for the summer rains

Beneath the flowering mango, she lifts the anklets from her feet.

                  Promise me you’ll let him go
                  Let the crimson leach from your palms

Resting his peacock crown, he loosens her hair.  He dabs her forehead with musk.


Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Did I gloat, friend,
over his good looks and my good
fortune?  Now look—
like the unfortunates before me
I’m scalding his slut with my looks.  


Subhashini Kaligotla grew up in India, the Middle East, and the United States.  She trained in electrical engineering and gave up a decade-long career in telecommunications to read for an MFA.  A graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program in poetry and a 2006-07 Fulbright fellow to India for literary translation, her poems have appeared in Catamaran, Crab Orchard Review, The Literary Review, New England Review, Western Humanities Review, and in the anthologies 60 Indian Poets (Penguin India), The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (Bloodaxe), and Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry (U. of Arkansas).  She is a Kundiman fellow and a PhD candidate in South Asian art at Columbia University.