Kin Song

kin song

in the village they married
cousin to cousin, old ways
down generations. maybe
that’s why (scattered diaspora
across a planet) we are
fierce girls, kind-hearted boys

weary, tear-stained, and yet
we drag ourselves up again
hurl ourselves into battle
determined to save the world
or fall down trying – and when
it’s all too much, we’re here

for each other, throwing bodies
into dance, sweating it out
on a crowded floor; never mind
who can’t carry a tune, just
sing with us all night, cousin,
laugh and cry with us

I want this for my children too
that they may know brown skin
and quick tongues, chilies burning –
the perfect balance of upu-pulli
salt-tang, sweet-spice; it works
for families as well as food

drag them complaining onto planes
but they’ll learn to anticipate
the laughter and the quick embrace
hello, goodbye, oh, one more hug
it can’t be time to go already

back to the lonesome solitary road

talk late into the night. sleep
dragging at our heels and heads
will claim us soon, but brief time
together must be stolen and savored;
never quite enough, keep talking

sometimes lying to ourselves
(not as strong as loving
as brave as we desperately
want to be) but we don’t lie
to each other; honest
to the point of pain, or
silent for kindness’ sake

we are not a tall clan
and I, the shortest of all,
but hearts are not measured
in inches. my kin, we beat
for each other, to bursting.

*****
for my sisters and my cousins
(blood or otherwise)
grateful for you all

Mary Anne (Amirthi) Mohanraj
September 2, 2019

kin song

in the village they married
cousin to cousin, old ways
down generations. maybe
that’s why (scattered diaspora
across a planet) we are
fierce girls, kind-hearted boys

weary, tear-stained, and yet
we drag ourselves up again
hurl ourselves into battle
determined to save the world
or fall down trying – and when
it’s all too much, we’re here

for each other, throwing bodies
into dance, sweating it out
on a crowded floor; never mind
who can’t carry a tune, just
sing with us all night, cousin,
laugh and cry with us

I want this for my children too
that they may know brown skin
and quick tongues, chilies burning –
the perfect balance of upu-pulli
salt-tang, sweet-spice; it works
for families as well as food

drag them complaining onto planes
but they’ll learn to anticipate
the laughter and the quick embrace
hello, goodbye, oh, one more hug
it can’t be time to go already

back to the lonesome solitary road

talk late into the night. sleep
will claim us soon, dragging
at our heels and heads, but brief time
together must be stolen and savored;
never quite enough, keep talking

sometimes lying to ourselves
(not as strong as loving
as brave as we desperately
want to be) but we don’t lie
to each other; honest
to the point of pain, or
silent for kindness’ sake

we are not a tall clan
and I, the shortest of all,
but hearts are not measured
in inches. my kin, we beat
for each other, to bursting.

*****
for my sisters and my cousins
(blood or otherwise)
grateful for you all

Mary Anne (Amirthi) Mohanraj
September 2, 2019