Sharanya Manivannan

I saw a therukoothu dancer
spinning in the sun

Every mirror along
his arms caught the sun
as he spun,
throwing it in small
constellations against
the shadows of the

And come unspooled in
his whirling was the memory
of a different dervish, and how
the compass arrows of my need
had spun with him then, shimmering,
possessed and scattering light, until
I could no longer see when
you gathered them up and
flung them, like cowries
in the palm of a
soothsayer. I ruptured
against your walls. I shone.

And when he
straightened his spine
and began to sing to
the goddess of rain, his
feet finally still against the earth,
I thought again to what she told me
that day, during the eclipse,
in her garden of daturas—

Never love a man with more faces
than a hall of mirrors. He will
never be able to tear his eyes away
long enough to look at you,
a luminous thing, blinded by
the dark gravity of your love.