“I don’t vacuum,” my sister declared.
“Saints live under my bed.”
No such excuse for me. Beneath my mattress
my own dead skin, flakes shed during dreams
that scatter snatches of memory: forest stumbles
and scratched limbs, a foghorn’s mourn,
windowless rooms, no corners, no doors, a sand-swept
tent in the Sahara I’m to camel across tomorrow
but neither dreams nor dust care.
One night, a woman in a saffron sari
perfumed my forehead, said,
“You don’t have to come to India now.”
My ashes will never grace the Ganges,
nor my body whirl toward Mecca.
What remains when my spirit leaves will compost
like egg shells and onion skins into soil
and if wind whisks some of that dirt
through an open window
and it ends up household dust,
may I rest with the saints undisturbed.