Alli, I’ve struck at this point for weeks as gingerly
as can a man with a sword but not a proper
sword-arm, and none to be got between here and India
anyway, and those to be had sold by that stuttering sparrow
boy in Thailand hawking cheap fucks and eating peanut
curry and us here thinking it’s beneath
us. But never mind the gentle riders beneath
the waves we will skip not-so-gingerly
alongside. Forget the acres of peanut
fields in Georgia. Forget the acres of proper
-ty our foes have set ablaze. The sparrow
asks you as it flies away to remember only India.
But not your grandmother’s India. That India
lies on doors buried beneath
office buildings in Calcutta, beyond the reach of the sparrow
and the owl, both of whose talons may gingerly
grasp both rafter and rabbit alike, proper meals and proper
sermons enjoyed from the peanut
gallery by all. The preacher works for peanut
-s, as well he should, being imported from India,
and as elegant and bejeweled and proper
as an elephant can be while toiling beneath
a monsoon season sun stepping gingerly
through thick grasses too fatal even for the hungry sparrow.
If you catch and question a stuttering sparrow
caught in the jaws of a king cobra, he will lay it on thick like peanut
butter and offer any number of excuses, gingerly,
tenderly explaining he lost the way to India,
caught between the teeth of a “s-s-slight d-d-delay” beneath
the rainclouds of the monsoon season’s monsoon proper.
If you cave and rephrase the inquiry to the bird proper
-ly, the advice from the coy, stuttering sparrow
will be to – at all costs – put leagues beneath
your wings until you’ve found the man with teeth like peanut
brittle sitting in a marketplace somewhere in rural India
calling your name, though he does not know it, gingerly.
Do not approach gingerly; instead be a proper
little mongoose, in India, forget the sparrow and the sparrow
boy, and the peanut curry; search for cobras in the brush beneath.