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Supritha Rajan

Supritha Rajan

Supritha Rajan is presently an assistant professor of English at the University of Rochester. Her poetry has been awarded Poetry Northwest’s Richard Hugo Prize (2007) and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her most recent poems have been published in Literary Imagination, Poetry Northwest, Salt Hill, Passages North, Puerto del Sol and elsewhere.

Solar Eclipse: Self-Portrait in Silhouette


—inert, the dark
center of her eye:
a sphere

ensphered, burred
like the sun
mured in the heat

of middle-age
and jelled to a stillness
that accretes

and into further stillness
declines—
true motion

is pause, the break
that silence makes
in speech

when emotion moves
outside its reach
and mute

lives all dispute
in souls that hide     
riot and wreckage.

Call this quiet then
my first language—
a hyphen

suspended in
oblivion
like a beam          

on which my thoughts
would tilt and slide
toward the orbit of

her eye—
that small black sea
where my stares

did hook, turn
back at me and look
or skitter like stones

with wonder and wander
until stunned with sky
they fell—elsewhere's

starling, bedded in the far
flow of under.
I remember

this: my little head
mirrored in hers
in verso

like a page
on whose back I read
an ageless story

of the I
as lack or endless
vertigo.

But how could she—
mother of
nothing—rear in me

such excess song?     
Something, somewhere
went wrong.

Or is it memory
that spills in me
the moon's lunacy,

occults all liveliness
in her face
and leaves me
                                        
in its eclipse
standing
but erased

to a briefness
that to me is
totality?

In which case
the fault lies with me
(not she) if

like the starry sky
I one day die,
loaded for bear—

purest of airs—
shot through
with sun.

Self (III)


Two bees,
twinned in form
and force,—

(above
the lavender,
above the crabapple

tree blossoms),
at times in near
embrace, at times

in zigzag or spiraling
pursuit paused
at sparring distance—

climb
the ladderless air.
There is no

unfastening them
from the ongoing
ongoingness

of nothing
to which their bodies
cling, so

committed are they
to their quarrel,
to the pure gold

that drifts
steadily down—
a wealth

so well dispersed
as to sleeve us all
in sameness.

It is May.
The month that speaks
in the grammar of

permission,
and they are
with a happiness

that exceeds
their daily allowance
afflicted

and, in the swarming heat
of early Spring,
make from bitter, dirt-

sweet pollen
a purer
sweet for store.

Nature is instinct
with the tempo of
the intentionless—

here a petaled mouth
opens
to say something

of little or no
consequence,
and here another empties

onto the tongue
of strangeness.
So much happens—

unknown
and unknowable—
in the sleep of reason,

an openness
and delivery into harm
past breaking

that is everywhere
both end and hidden plot.  
This must be why

everything falls
in the morning light
toward the edge

of the lawn,
why we wake
fed with finishing

and done for.

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