Srini Mandavilli


I am lying next to grandmother,
she regales me with exploits of Rama,
the pale light of the moon watches us like an owl;
I use a bow to slay demons too; then 

wake up to see her traces everywhere—
handle of the coffee grinder, stainless steel
percolator, iron spatula that flips rice crepes
and brass ladle that doles out coconut chutney. 

I ride on a rickety horse carriage
to the movies; she pays, untying 
a knot at the end of her sari
that mysteriously holds the fare and more. 

She draws from a deep well.
Every summer the water retreats, and 
she pulls a bit longer on
a coiled jute rope, like I do on my memories. 

I ask my grandmother for a glass jar
to capture fireflies in the night,
their miniature headlights throb, tease,
always willing to be chased and caught. 

Her figure fades in the smoke, my face
against the metal window bars
is covered in soot.
The steam engine chugging, pulls me out of summer.

Srini Mandavilli

Srini Mandavilli is a pathologist at Hartford Hospital with an interest and expertise in diagnosis of gynecologic and brain tumors. He has had poems published in Caudceus, Long River Run, CT Medicine, Theodate, Freshwater, Journal of the American Medical Association, and SNReview. One of his poems was an honorable mention in 2013 CT poetry society competition. He has served as a judge for the past couple of years in the poetry competition organized by CT Young Writers Trust. He lives in West Simsbury with his wife, two daughters and black lab Sophie.