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Kirun Kapur

Kirun Kapur

Kirun Kapur grew up in Hawaii and has since lived and worked in North America and South Asia. Her work has appeared in AGNI, Poetry International, FIELD, The Christian Science Monitor among other journals and news outlets. She is the winner of the 2012 Arts & Letters/Rumi Prize for Poetry and the 2013 Antivenom Prize. Her first book, Visiting Indira Gandhi's Palmist, is forthcomging from Elixir Press.

He Who Does Not Have The Church As His Mother Does Not Have God As His Father

My mother was the sort of daughter
who knew the doctor's number;
whether the spoons were polished;

which hand-cut glasses, sparkling
in her mother's dark china cabinet
hid vodka or gin. She knew

the exact number of steps between
her bed and the landing, the landing
and the front door; whether there was milk

or ice or aspirin; when to spend
two nights with neighbors, quietly
washing their dishes. She read

to be certain when Lily of The Valley
would bloom, under downstairs windows,
near her father, entombed in his chair.  

A crucifix swung from her bedroom wall,
the sober Mary hung in the hall, patiently
steadying her baby. My mother

buttoned her own coat to the chin,
repeated The Lord's Prayer,
so she wouldn't waste time

on talk about the handsome French dentist,
his poor child and that Irish wife.
When she found four children

alone in the woods, she knew
exactly what to do: she towed them home
and washed them in her mother's perfumed oil.


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