paper • 82 pages • 13.95
ISBN-13:  1-884800-29-7

The Theory and Function of Mangoes

George Kalamaras

Congratulations to George Kalamaras on becoming the Poet Laureate of Indiana in January 2014!



This is where Gandhiji was burned at death.
What remains is a square of black marble

and where the head might be, an urn of ash
as a memento, for the Mahatma

now swims in the Jamuna and borders
New Delhi. So many deaths and burnings

glow in votive candles and marigolds
dropped like golden dust across the slab:

Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi,
and at the eastern end of Raj Path,

India Gate, a 42-meter-high
stone arch of triumph that bears the names

of 90,000 Indian Army soldiers
who died in World War I, the North–

West Frontier operations, and — confused — in the
1919 Afghani War.

This is where Gandhiji’s flesh burned brightly,
shooting up from beneath mounds of flowers

like a sudden brush fire, or a flare
saying, save me, save me, save me, and you

save yourself! Marigolds shiver in breezes
pouring back from the river and spill dust

like tiny ingots of blood that glow gold
in sun. You are one of thousands of pilgrims

who touch the stone, who bow into yourselves
and feel cool blackness below burning gold.

What remains is a slab of black marble
and a beautiful park with labeled trees

planted by Queen Elizabeth II,
Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ho Chi Minh.