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by Kirun Kapur

Love begins in a country
Where oranges weep sweeter
And men piss in the street;

Your hands are forever
Binding dark strands
In a plait. Your mother’s

Childhood friend has steeped your skin
In coconut oil, tucked her daughter beside you—
All night the room is a womb, live with twins.

Heat’s body presses every body. Sharp chop
Of your uncle’s cough clocks the hours; your sister’s
Washing, the rush of your thoughts. Morning is nine

Glass bangles hoisting sacks of sugar
From the floor. I’m not talking
About a place, but a country;

Its laws are your mother, its walls
Are your dreams. The flag it flies
Is your father waving away.


Kirun Kapur grew up in Hawaii and has since lived and worked in North America and South Asia. Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from FIELD, Literary Imagination, Beloit Poetry Journal, Poetry International, and elsewhere. She currently lives in Massachusetts, where she co-directs the Tannery Reading Series. (9/2011)

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