Mother says she hasn’t found herself yet and there’s
little time. She holds an old ceramic mug in one hand
a drill bit in the other and is intently watching a man
on YouTube put holes into things: it’s how you make vessels
suitable for saplings, apparently.
Her windowsill is a long row of wine bottles
with no wine, all sorts of ivies and ferns pouring out
her bathroom mirror a bay of newly acquired post-its
with little messages to self— beyond is where she looks
to put on her day cream.
Afternoons she trades sleep
to sit with her sketch sheets & HB pencils bent over houses and fruit,
hillsides stark with shadow & light, drawing herself
out of a canvas of abstraction.
From old photographs she copies faces & hands, draws tall
vases with still dahlias, seashores
miles & miles of roads, it’s how she masters perspective—
all her roads pointing to dimensionless dots
at their respective horizons: here on paper,
how easily they reach their ends—
Vismai Rao grew up in Delhi, India. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Indianapolis Review, RHINO Poetry, Salamander & elsewhere. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.