7 cycles by Kamana Rai


The glass of chrysanthemums — 

my mother tells me, 

cut the leaves off or 

take out the leaves 

from the stems with your hands. 

गोदावरी – will stay fresh in a vase

of water for weeks. 


If you look after anything well, 

it will show signs of prospering. 

In this sense, 

relationships of care, 

with material belongings 

and sentient beings — 

with anything 

are all very much similar. 


In a Nepali household, 

often love is quiet. 

We let its silence speak for us 

instead. Relationships of care 

form from this paradigm. 


Not all silence is the same. 

Not the silenced or 

what sits 

in your belly 

like a dormant volcano. 

Therapy in its simple form 

is communication. 

This translation is the hardest. 


Blue English 

sea of western 

land and faces. 

My immigrant parents 

only know how to work 

for survival. 


After all these years, 

I break 

from my own spell. 

Beauty sheds, गोदावरी wilts.

When they reach 

the end of their vibrancy, 

throw in the heap of 

home-made compost 



Soils of im/permanence. 

Soon they will meet 

the dismembered. 

Millions of bodies, now 

fertile soil, growing 

as trees 

tend the flowerbeds.

Kamana Rai is a Nepali-British poet based in the UK. She is currently in completion of BA English with Creative Writing at Queen Mary University of London. Kamana incorporates her cultural identity and multi-lingual writing in her poetry as emotional and political acts of expression. She is currently working on a poetry zine project. You can follow her creative process here: @loversndreamers_

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