Toward Some Dark

Poetry / Rohan Chhetri

They came at dawn, three angels
in jumpsuits, and felled the two ash
trees in front of the neighbour’s house.

Now from our porch, the view
of the sky stretched unbearable blue
rent open from a mesh of shadowgreen.

The smell of pine in the air, pungent,
wild. I thought this is how we arrive
at clarity. Through some clearing of

the living. When Grandfather was dying,
we found the little money he’d squirreled
away in a box too embarrassed to bequeath it

to any of us. Him pleading to us through
the final hours to please pull the fuckin’
shroud off his head… It was the yellow

mosquito net hung low above the bed
where he lay hallucinating, furious
we were trying to ease him toward some dark.

Our flushed faces to him then, like
the inhospitable cities of his youth.
So much loss manufactured by men alone,

so why not those angels at dawn
armed with their power saws putting back
simple terror into things.

Like the monsoons bringing the abattoirs
to the flooded city streets in Dhaka.
The bleeding child who supposedly asked,

Excuse me sirs, is your Lord counting
all unrequited airstrikes? Or
is His jurassic desire our extermination to be.

Now the wind flits on our porch like
a young unremembered thing, that one-legged
beggar I once saw hopping across the platform

to catch the Intercity, so he could beg
through the bogies, seven stations & back.
But don’t forget the wind, it has lost something

& doesn’t know it, sniffing about the heady
stink of sawdust & brine, stomping
on our roof again & again

like it has stepped on so much blood
drying from small wounds.

Rohan Chhetri is a Nepali-Indian poet. His first book of poems, Slow Startle (Winner of the ‘Emerging Poets Prize 2015’) was published by The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective. A forthcoming chapbook of poems, Jurassic Desire (Winner of ‘Per Diem Poetry Prize’) is slated to be published later this year from Per Diem Press. His poems have appeared in Prelude, Rattle, Vinyl, EVENT, Literary Hub & was recently translated into French for Europe Revue. He was a 2016 Norman Mailer Poetry Fellow and recently won the Joyce Carol Oates Award for poetry.