I sell my body to free myself, she says

somnolent Devadasi girl with eyes

like an ox, her red-and-yellow sari

is made from lac and safflower. She was

sold off the farm at twelve to men who

slid open her quarters like a bread cabinet

who do not look god in the face because

she is Maadiga, that which cannot be seen

so glorious is her immanence, like

each star was a torch passed on to her

who looks up at the night for warmth

from trillions of long ago lights. Suffer

O ox-eyed Yellamma, while men pay

to grind your fine grain into sand.

Whoever cannot believe can swear to god

for a covenant that justifies your ways

to the lustful race of man buying his own.

R. Charboneau

Mine Says To Me


Thought is the thing you hear while you’re reading.

This, right here, is a thought. Abide it this moment.

Consider what it says to you apart from my words.

It is your own poem overlaying mine, like latticework.

What is it saying to you about me? Such a thing

I’ve been curious about for a long time now.

In what ways, I wonder, is it like my own?

R. Charboneau