Back to Issue Thirty-Eight

The Gifts



I am a simple man.
The birds ask and I answer.
Someone says Make a fist
and I make a fist. Salt
sifts through my porous
shell. I married long ago.
We met once before the
knotting. You ask me if
I once did love. How could I
explain. I left her in the sky.
The day it happened
in both palms I held
small birds that settled
there and turned to bone.
How is it possible to
suffocate without ever
knowing how. I left all
my life in the sky. I am a
man who knows little things,
has little fortune, has
known little places.
Little money. I scatter my
own ashes. I wait.
Someone says
You are a stupid man and
I say Okay. A poor man is
still rich enough for
delusion. In the winter
the birds shed coats for
me. I keep their gifts.
I promise I did once
love. I promised so
many things. I wait near the
empty well and pull
buckets of stone and ice.
The bile in my stomach.
Plastic comb. Tail
feather. Chalk. Apple
core. Withered balls of
hair. The birds call and
I hear. I say Yes. I say
Thank you. It is the most
I can ask for.



Maya Eashwaran is an Indian American poet from Alpharetta Georgia. Her work has been recently published in Frontier Poetry, Birdfeast Magazine, Hobart, and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s ‘The Margins.’ Maya is a graduate of Princeton University, where she studied under the poet Susan Wheeler and produced a thesis of poems titled ‘After Kali Yuga.’ She currently lives and writes in Washington DC.

Next (Genevieve Payne) >

< Previous (Patricia Liu)