Two Poems

Poetry / Rajiv Mohabir


Listen, you are not
              you, but swaying,
                            moving lips of praise

and trumpet. Once
              the incense curls
                            where is the smoke? Where

is the trumpet’s note
              in the kingdom of this world?
                            You’ve lost yourself

in a triplet bracket.
              Even the king stands,
                            un-persons his mantle

while the symphony swells,
              you remember the tenor
                            line holds resurrection

in a dissonance
              that unstitches you
                            and you throw your arms up,

to a release of breath
              and doves—

Ka‘ena Point

Some things you must learn
how to see: how to scan the horizon
for black skins that sparkle as jewels,

facets slick in seawater and sunlight.
You have always been jumping
from this world into the orchestra

underneath. After learning to see
you cannot stop singing, you sweep
the blue rhumb line for plumes of dust-like

spray. Leap into mist. The swells froth
and erode stone. What keeps its shape
perched on the altar of time’s temple?

Today a sheerwater nests
in the mountain’s pores, tomorrow
the calcium shell of your skeleton

leeches back into the coral.
A puff of spume and your body breaches
at the point of jumping off. Look up.

Look. The rock is ground into sand.
What around you is not music?

Rajiv Mohabir is the author of The Taxidermist’s Cut, winner of the 2014 Intro Prize in Poetry from Four Way Books. His second collection, The Cowherd’s Son, winner of the 2015 Kundiman Poetry Prize, is forthcoming.