How does he square his fiddling with rhymes
with such unbearably precarious times,
when breathlessness is just a breath away
and there is nothing poetry can say?
He’s never given interviews or talks,
but I have watched him on his morning walks
along the local gorge. He taps his cane
to time the iambs rhyming in his brain,
his footfalls growing surer as we’ve skidded
past the edge, the endstop that he dreaded.
The diving board is shivering. He dares,
like an Olympic diver in the air,
to play in gravity and so forestall,
with his linguistic tucks and twists, the fall.
Amit Majmudar’s most recent book is Godsong: A Verse Translation of the Bhagavad-Gita, with Commentary (Knopf, 2018), and his forthcoming poetry collection is What He Did in Solitary (Knopf, 2020). More information is available at www.amitmajmudar.com.
First published in Measure Review