In which I discover

by Vismai Rao


nothing—At my niece’s
dance recital, the fact
that she plays
both Krishna
& Krishna’s lover—

Wearing a silk
saree, yellow
with a crimson border,
she plucks the air
with her right hand

while the left
waits, poised
like a pail. Five plucks
equal five mogra blossoms.
As Krishna she adorns

herself: a flute,
a garland, a peacock
feather, all of these
played
by the emptiness
she dances in—


VISMAI RAO’S poems appear or are forthcoming in the Indianapolis Review, RHINO, Rust + Moth, Salamander, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Pithead Chapel, SWWIM, & The Shore. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and the Orison Anthology. She serves as Poetry Editor for The Night Heron Barks.


Photo: “Jasmine (Mogra)” by Abhijit Tembhekar