POETRY

The Eternal Return

By

We’re side by side like always at the window
Except that she is five years old and I
Am demonstrating how we spread our thumbs
And index fingers to enlarge the world.
I show her: Tap the glass here once to make
That dogwood blossom, twice to make it shed.
Here at the window, sensing how the lost one
Has been collapsed into the one to come,
How my mother’s mother and my daughter due
In June are both this one same girl, I ask her
In English—though she never spoke it when
Alive—I call this child Ma and ask her
If families can stay together like this,
The soul returning here, a berth reserved
Before the garlands blacken on the chest
To have her smile courted, her wayward hands
Tucked close. If love’s a kind of relay race
Baton, forever passed among the same
Few runners, each last breath a second wind.

We haven’t touched the window for a while,
And so, like any screen, reality
Switches on its slideshow: Hubble’s pictures
Of Saturn, dumbbell nebulae, green smoke
Off cosmic fuses, argon, boron, bismuth,
Galaxies in the shape of hurricanes
Without a coast; and then, high-res, bone-white,
The surface of a moon, maybe our own,
Pitted and stained with ancient soundless violence
Where we are free to see a face or not.

Amit Majmudar is a widely published poet, novelist, and essayist.

We’re side by side like always at the window
Except that she is five years old and I
Am demonstrating how we spread our thumbs
And index fingers to enlarge the world.