Rajiv Mohabir

Ortolan

Take the bird alive and blind it.
Keep it in a room where there are no windows,

or if there are windows board them up.
It’s important that no light gets in

and that the bunting cannot see its body.
Feed this creature of god figs, millet,

grapes so it gorges and engorges,
unrecognizable to itself.

Drown the Ortolan in Armagnac,
snuff out the light in a snifter, so that its belly

and lungs fill with the liqueur of the hereafter.
When you put this songbird between your lips

and bite down, veil your face
with my mother’s silk sari.

Hide your gluttony from the god
with hungry dog eyes envying our nocturnal commotion.

Taste the burst of liqueur-flowers from
the lungs on your tongue.

Taste the entire life in the dark, every man
who has ever put me in his mouth.

Rajiv Mohabir received fellowships from VONA, Kundiman, and the American Institute of Indian Studies. His first book, The Taxidermist’s Cut won Four Way Book’s Intro Prize for Poetry and is forthcoming spring of 2016. He received his MFA from Queens College, CUNY and currently peruses a PhD at the University of Hawai`i, Mānoa.
MORE POEMS
  • blue
    Lauren Michele Jackson