Two Poems by Brooke Sahni

Brooke Sahni

Brooke Sahni

Brooke Sahni’s poetry and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in magazines such as The Missouri Review, Nimrod, EcoTheo Review, 32 Poems, Cimarron Review and elsewhere. Her poetry chapbook, Divining, is the winner of the 2019 Orison Chapbook Prize and is forthcoming in 2020.

Whose Kingdom

Down the darkened aisles
of your warehouse, you steer me
in your chariot. Past the matte brown,
clear-mouthed, taped-shut towers
of boxes, we glide. Young men
in forklifts wrangle merchandise,
I can see their eyes avert from yours,
sense a tremble from within
as they dip their heads, a bow.
Like all good monarchs, you know
how to point: no, not like that, or, to me,
he’s strong, a rare approval.

It took a lifetime for this galaxy
of imports and silver-backed
machinery to emerge, so you
will understand why I can’t
separate you from it. Why sometimes
I try to imagine you as a boy,
the smooth, untouched skin of your feet
at the base of an altar, all bangle,
turban, and simple devotion,
your guru taped behind the thin bars
of your bed that only your slender
wrists could reach
through and touch.




Leaving a Scripture

Some days,
my teacher slips,
says there is only one god,
that we are chosen people as though
god is a ghost and we,
his haunting.
What about that other scripture,
the one that rests high on the shelf
of my closet, like a sleeping animal
with dust on its coat?
From me a thin cord extends,
travels the miles home—slips
in under the door and goes
to the Guru Granth Sahib
you told me,
holy books like this
must be elevated,

left me
with an object
holy and unintelligible.

Though you moved away,
though you say you’re not that far,
there is a hush in the house that
lives. But there are words
to describe jettison,
thank god for that.