Poetry / December 2014 (Issue 26)

Dantaal, an Axle Transforms into an Instrument

by Rajiv Mohabir

adi tala: dhā ki ṭa tā ki ṭa dhā ti ṭa
ka ti ṭa tā ti ra ki ṭa ga di ga na

Was a time when, with eyes closed, I could tell who stirred
in the kitchen, kneading flour into alu

paratha by the light music of the hand's
bangles. I made a pair of my own: silver

to my mother's and sister's gold. They start
as pointed rods marked in Xs and flowers,

the top smooth and bare before curved to fit the wrist.
Their clapping roti is a lullaby to keep

bread soft. So I become a drummer myself,
the antiman time keeper, a necessary

pivot like an iron axle of the oxcart,
a bent rod transformed into music.
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