Teetering Toward Sattva My friend’s mother would tell him, I created you and I can destroy you, as though, like Parvati with Ganesh, she had literally made him from a mixture of earth and her perspiration, brought him to life with her breath. Śaivasampradāyaḥ believe Shiva is the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the cosmos. Does that mean mothers are his avatāra and children their miniature multiverses? I wouldn’t know. I’m not a mother. Mine may have been a god to me when I was little (it’s likely she was) but I remember her as my universe. One I destroyed over and over with the choices I made, huddled and weeping and bereft, my days-old sweat a blend of scotch and cigarettes and dirt from the alleys where I crouched for decades. Now those years have passed and so has she. Neither creator nor destroyer, she preserved her dreams for/in me and I live them with her hands, callused, dry-darkened at the knuckles, soft, cool. They wash away the grime so I can live for today. So I can live for us both. So I can live. Anteyesti to Anay Your body burns as your mother weeps her son into a letter. I read it, edges fluttering in the summer wind like wings, like the ashes we scatter in the canyon’s river. She asks why you wanted to melt into memory, fleeting desert snow beneath the sun of our hot grief. And in that brutal light, she begs for rain to swoop down and flood her cracked earth. (… As We Know It) Reset: Kritayuga Begins Again When the apocalypse comes what becomes of the astronaut who floats in the space station and sees the sun as it really is – a silvery white flare, incandescent as fireworks arching over our greening blue Earth?
Kalpita Pathak is an autistic poet, novelist, and advocate with a passion for research and sensory-rich details. Her work tends to explore the perseverance of hope in a sometimes despairing world, with a little dark humor and magic added to the mix. She received the James Michener Fellowship for her MFA in creative writing and has taught at both the college level and in school programs for kids from three to eighteen. She has recently been published in Mediterranean Poetry.