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Original artwork by Katie M. Zeigler

राम नाम सत्य है

Karan Kapoor

Mother died last night, 

Mother who never dies.

—Louis Glück


four men carry her on their shoulders

for her final pilgrimage

                                     beneath the white 

sheet cocooning her she wears white salwaar


                           cotton bud in each nostril

nothing of her visible anymore


rain silhouettes our bodies

                   washes the road             crackles

wires swinging between

                   poles and streetlights


wet asphalt reminds me

I am barefoot

                                 father chants


              rama nama satya hai

              rama nama satya hai


name of god is absolute 

name of god is absolute 


               everyone around us echoes

               into the wind


                even rain has a voice


memory of her heavy swollen body floats

into my mind

                                             all else seems a lie


                 the absolute truth an inadequate lullaby


I try to repeat              but my voice

is a bone                       stuck in my throat