We Thought We Loved


A poem by Madhuri

We thought we were in love with each other
but we were in love with You

That woman from Brazil with her mango-brown
satin skin and her robe passing like a statue’s
draping down over her rear and pillars
of legs moving –
that man sheepish in his raptness, his curls
rampant as mischief, his contained
hands in his lap, his head
bent beside us in stillness as we Sit

We thought we loved each other over coffee
or chai and Gluco Biscuits
we thought we were beautiful
the jungle came down and quested
for our faces with its hands

We saw the brief moving angles of each other
and we were earth-angels
and we wanted to stroke each other
on bare upper arm and shoulder
and look into each other’s eyes
ferny and wary and present, today,
finally, in all the ferns of the curly top-thatch

Oh eyes, where we find You

Jungle Lady by Madhuri

Then, oh dear darlings, we fled sometimes in
scared regret with our tickets for trips
to the West for our working
and we clung together and tried to love
there, where we got pinched/prodded/mangled
by that factory smell and clanging
and we forgot our jungles and became Germans
or Dutch or Swiss or Ozzie

And found we didn’t love each other any more

But when we came back
to the Walled Enclosure
some new thighs opened or focused
and we thought we loved new beauty

When all the time it was only You
broadcasting the shade of your Awning
reaching out all over and through us
– for we are made of air –

MadhuriPoem and illustration by Madhuri

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