A book of poetry, Bear Star Press
Humming the Alaknanda
I am descended from a long line of women carrying water.
Only the vessel's shape has morphed
from brass bowl, wide as hips, to flask and strap.
My great-grandmother's toes gripped slippery stones.
Balanced, bent over the pool she hummed the river,
summing the years in her face, the maps:
rice-wash lines, smoke-squint lines, prayer-for-rain lines,
ache of babies printed around the eyes.
Across the Alaknanda, monkey families hooted
as she lifted the metal bowl, swashing, dripping
down her neck and spine, the water balanced
on her head for miles, long blue sari taming her stride
to miniscule steps.