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from the June 2017 issue

I Will Die Young

I, too, can’t bear the pain that’s yours
on being so far away from me.
I will die young.
What more?
You’ve abandoned me to pity:
to feel the pain that follows pain.

I will die young.

My neck’s in the coils of your serpentine curls:
what’s left is the tale—
             So tell me,
which tales would you now have me tell?                 

You’ve rent my heart—I’ll be damned
if your nose
isn’t a sword
of silver! How many lions now
among us
has your blade laid low?

The sunshine, my sun, has shamed the light

of the moon of Qandahar—I’m waiting,
in your memory—


In my dark he spoke
(the seller of red gems)
to show me
what’s evident: “A jewel
comes into view
from inside stone.”

You’ve loosened me, my love,
to fall—I can’t stand
on my feet. Now whom
have you
fallen for?
Are they more beautiful than me?

In this garden of love, flowers
are wounds of my heart,
the swaying cypress sounds
my sighs; with tears
I’ll fill rivulets—

You’re upset;
             but I’ll run
                         right on after you—
                                        I’ll hold on,

Grab you by the collar
              of your cloak—I swear I’ll grip its hem
                            on resurrection day—

I will die young.


Translation © 2017 by Sonam Kachru. All rights reserved.

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