Poem of the Day: “Burial Practice” by Srikanth Reddy

By

Srikanth Reddy’s Facts for Visitors, from which this poem is from, came out in 2004; it has beautiful and inventive poems which Reddy has continued to produce since then in books like Voyager (which is a book of erasure made from Kurt Waldheim’s memoir, In the Eye of the Storm). Reddy’s focus, through the textual combativeness of the postmodern, is on the sincere connections of people between the lines—a somewhat desperate grab for what is between us.

Burial Practice

Then the pulse.
Then a pause.
Then twilight in a box.
Dusk underfoot.
Then generations.

Then the same war by a different name.
Wine splashing in the bucket.
The erection, the era.
Then exit Reason.
Then sadness without reason.
Then the removal of the ceiling by hand.

Then pages & pages of numbers.
Then the page with the faint green stain.
Then the page on which Prince Theodore, gravely wounded, is thrown onto a wagon.
Then the page on which Masha weds somebody else.
Then the page that turns to the story of somebody else.
Then the page scribbled in dactyls.
Then the page which begins Exit Angel.
Then the page wrapped around a dead fish.
Then the page where the serfs reach the ocean.
Then a nap.
Then the peg.
Then the page with the curious helmet.
Then the page on which millet is ground.
Then the death of Ursula.
Then the stone page they raised over her head.
Then the page made of grass which goes on.

Exit Beauty.

Then the page someone folded to mark her place.
Then the page on which nothing happens.
The page after this page.

Then the transcript.
Knocking within.

Interpretation, then harvest.

Exit Want.
Then a love story.

Then a trip to the ruins.
Then & only then the violet agenda.

Then hope without reason.
Then the construction of an underground passage between us.

(Text & sound via The Poetry Foundation)


Kyle Williams is a student at Brooklyn College, studying creative writing and literature. You can find more from him on Tumblr at kaywhyelleee.tumblr.com, but don't feel like you have to. More from this author →