After the Party {Ma Absent}

by Ellen Kombiyll

Ma absent 
in her three-day trance.

The garden didn’t 
burn she says 

then all day stares 
at the television.

Perhaps the game show host 
repeats the cue: 

Name something specific 
that has an anchor.

Is the correct 
answer loss

when speaking 

Like pinecones in a fire
burst, reviving earth,

scarred seeds burrow 
& wait for water. 

My name 
means flight

which is what I know.
Or, like a tarantula 

escapes glass walls
to one day climb

the rocky precipice 
of a waterfall—

carapace cast off
among ferns shaking 

taffeta skirts, the strut 
of escargot—O 

the wild 
of silk slips 

trailing silver—
   is it love?



Ellen Kombiyil is the author of Histories of the Future Perfect (2015), and a micro chapbook Avalanche Tunnel (2016). Recent work appears in New Ohio Review, the minnesota review, Nimrod, and Ploughshares. She is a two-time winner of the Mary M. Fay Poetry Award from Hunter College, an Academy of American Poets college prize, and the Nancy Dean Medieval Prize for an essay on the acoustic quality of Chaucer’s poetics. She co-founded of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, a mentorship-model press publishing emerging poets from India and the diaspora.

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