“A Seasonal Answer” by Tejas Ranade


I look to Death
and ask her why,
she replies that by the sky
her mandarin flares like
nightborn scorns, mourn
'till mourning peeks up
through the rice paddies
and morning peeks down
into the cavern, little
eyes rushing like flies
of golden spittle from
some rabid deity ready to
try to eat the sky.

I ask her again during
the solstice, when the daydead
fen grows as the muscles of its worshipers,
pleasing her to
no end (is in sight as the glades
wilt into the wilderness of the
stem of the tree of life that mortal
strife knows not a trifle of
the broadening leaves) so that she
dances like a child in the middle
of the dawnsleep, wakening
a peasant from the village below

as he grumbles to his children
get up get up get
up into the air as the Mother of All
blows upon the sunflower seeds, guiding
like a gilded horse striding toward
its manna destination and plans
her next move,
darker.

She's an eveningsprint girl,
a miss who would rather watch
the folk go about their business
and hatch a plot to hatch an egg
of hell roosters upon the earth,
clarion calls of an underworld
passage into Asgard that trumpets
forth the noonrest of the farmers
as they scramble to their spades,
brambles in their way and
the land growing gray as they
fearfully hold sway over the fruits
of a millisecond, taking quick glances
(but never for too long!)
and the Mother of All and
listening to her sleeptime song,

and how do I know? I asked her about it
and she told me so,
and I asked her about her and
she told me no.