kids ask me about home. as if I know. I’m rain-threshed. ghat-swamped.
all my syllables mispronunciations. I’ve got no tongue for ordinary devotion.
yeah I can make it seem grand, plump the horizon with forts, I can pluck
the Himalayas, plant them in this classroom, weave a Ganga of my devotion.
do you have an hour, or thirty, a blank book? some volumes? a tiny flute
for my words? no clouds please. turns out silence too is a devotion.
I didn’t know the English names for spices until I moved to America.
who knew coriander was cilantro was dhania? haldi-not-turmeric is devotion,
jeera-not-cumin is desperate. I don’t know why; I pray in Hindi,
in English, in a language I realized was Sanskrit from google; devotion
is in dictionaries. is in my gauze of Hindi idioms, a vague swath,
I’m trying. the kids here can’t tell the difference. is pretending devotion?
all this time I’d been praying to god but really it was to home, not nation:
a jute bag balanced on my hips, small pakoras stuffed with devotion,
sometimes a matcha latte. I eat devotion. I brew devotion. paint my nails
in devotion. my eyelids bronze, mermaid blue-green, purple devotion.
I dress devotedly. I devote my time to smoothing the knots in my hair.
I lace rum and cokes with devotion. My aloe vera plant sings devotion.
I kneel, curl into commas of devotion. everywhere I leave sticky:
a honey-tulsi paste of devotion. fold both my flags, practise devotion.
light candles of devotion, the scent spreading, a song. invite the neighbors in
for a meal I did not make, hot as stars. we eat across a table of devotion.
I say my name again and again until I’m no longer sure what I hear.
urvi, urvi, I say it despite not knowing, urvi, the only devotion that stays.