Other Skins

Shebana Coelho


I love the snake
that stifles my breath
I have built him
bit by bit
all these years
fleshed him
with fear so he moves
slick and
when the skin
falls I store it
in a cave
with other skins

But when this winter comes
it will come despite
persistence of sun
I will go to that cave
and smother the skins
with snow
and in their stead
after a time
a lone flower must
grow a purple flower

in Mongolia
they call it yargui
and sing a song to it

it is a herald of spring
it rises through snow
and lambs newly calved
bend to it
nuzzle it
and herders newly loved
love it more



Shebana Coelho

is a

Guest Contributor for Panorama.