Shastra Deo: “Genesis”

Auguste Rodin, MInerva

I do not know how to translate
myself: text of twinned provenance,
 fragment-
ary homeland. Foreign diviner of orphic
genesis.

I am colonisers’ reluctant philologist, roiling
patois, mouth curled muscular
over ouroboran viperslangs:
mother’s tongue split and blooming
apples on breath alone. My English
is a language of kenning, antigarden
of my speech, plot for

both Latin and Saxon
and what cuttings I take:
 manus, hand, हाथ;
 dens, tooth, दांत.
What music sidles — nostalgia of sound.

Many myths do not outlive their nativity,
but this — the snake, the tongue
against apple in hand, then hit by tooth
 — eats through exile, enacts its
violence in utter-
rances settled, knowledge unsought, sins
neither committed nor remembered.

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