Rites of Sense – a poem

Meena Alexander’s poem Rites of Sense’ concerns the fundamental question of freedom . The poem was published in Meena Alexander’s book, Illiterate Heart (TriQuarterly Books/ Northwestern University Press, 2002)

Rites of Sense

In twilight as she lies on a mat
I rub my mother’s feet with jasmine oil
touch callouses under skin,
joints upholding that fraught original thing–
bone, gristle skin, all that makes her mine.
All day she swabbed urine from the floor,
father’s legs so weak he clung to the rosewood bed.
She rinsed soiled cloths, hung them out to dry
on a coir rope by a vine, its passion fruit
clumsy with age, dangling. […]