Forest with Castanets
Longlisted for the 2020 Sophie Brody Medal.
In her debut book of poems, knit together with personal essays, Mehta explores her own cultural history— Indian Jainism and American Judaism— as well as her ideas about faith, feminism, and family.
“Ankles Like Ancient Birds” from Forest with Castanets
I am musing for amusements,
Looking for something good.
Ancestral spirits back me up.
I am searching, and they are heaven-sent.
What is beautiful? It lasts an instant.
I hand out lists of lovers and reflections.
Someone writes me a letter in seismographic beeps.
This urn, that eclipse, a nightingale, all of it true—
I despise losing but do it masterfully.
(The dead pull on my ankles like ancient birds,
my soul, they think, in reach.)
And if sea sirens and shadow-making revelations
are stage tricks? If these are standard griefs?
About the Author