Your souls and mine


Souls of my sisters are sinew and gravel so wily soft,

stuck to each other with asphalt and powdered confectionerÕs

sugar. Demanding attention like puppies and daisies do,

growing dependent, as vines on deciduous trees tend to.


Father, his soul smells of pine and it readily burns, for itÕs

stuffed full with ancient scraps, voided checks, magazines, photographs

all dry and rubbing together with friction thatÕs painfully

cutting a track to his kidneys, with fire like knife stab wounds.


Mother is bubbles and chewing gum, floating away as the

breezes pass, popping when updrafts fade.  Building a fortress of

boxes and bottles that have all been rotted through, just like wet

leather theyÕve wilted, and she stands alone on the kitchen floor.


Your soul was solid as redwood and hard as South African

diamonds are. Shiny brass layers of lattice work, delicate,

linked inextricably, laid without blueprintsÕ guide, passing as

yellow gold, barely. ItÕs likely to topple with each new piece.


My soul is walking away from the forest, and into the

afternoon sunlit grass. Molded from paste made of sawdust and

filings of copper, then set in the chill of the open-doored Frigidaire. 

We are as bright as the ringing of parallel fourths in crescendo.


(First Published by Poets and Artists in 2010)



The Catch

As flowers are drawn to light, I am drawn,
like charcoal and ash, towards the sea. 

It pulls me in and then waits for the shore to

come and claim me, which it never does, because

the ocean is stronger than the fishermen bringing in the catch.

They bring it in under the heat of the sun,

turning themselves brown, burnt, and radiating,

so that the flowers will want to grow towards them.

(First published in Poetry Quarterly, 2010)


© Roheeni Saxena

Roheeni Saxena is a writer and performer living in New York City. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and Columbia University. She has been published in Tryst, Poetry Quarterly, and The Medulla Review, among others. Her poem My Jasmine Tea was nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. When Roheeni sleeps, her dreams feature elaborately choreographed song and dance numbers.