Maybe at the end all you see is faces

Maybe at the end all you see is faces

Archana Sridhar

The ancestors’ faces flit and flash—
daguerreotypes in etched silver frames

Tarnished patterns await crème polish, hem in
those black-and-white elders

My head burrows under a white sheet
and accordion-style cameras flash

Yellowing prints record
mourning maternal murmurs by moonlight

A buttery bulb’s filament guides
a swaying, frail thread of life

Hands sandwiched under armpits drag
bony feet under-turned to a hole in the floor

A father’s face disembodied straight
off a plane begs from the ends of the earth

Iced kerchiefs wrapped in snow
slap my calves to ward off the chills

A buzzing headache over yogurt rice
burns rivers of fever into snowfields

A mendicant wanders in the cardinal directions,
hands cupped for alms and blessings

The face masks shiver in the
white black red yellow hours

Archana Sridhar