Rashmi Vaish


The cedar has no choice but to let the snow fall
The snow too has no choice but to gather and fall

Soon the snow-drenched earth will ooze, bleed rivers of mud
The rocks will hold the mud back, let the water fall

See the robin’s nest perched high on that juniper?
Spring storms will shake it loose till it tumbles and falls

Deep within summer’s thicket blackberries ripen
No hungry hands to pick them, purposeless they fall

Elsewhere a bellicose sky wails black empty threats
There a farmer waits in vain for the rain to fall

So much life lies waiting under a longing sun
And yet this Ray still waits for the darkness to fall

The Cactus and the Flower

Not one facet of its spiny flesh was free
of thorns — its bulging back, its twisted limbs,
not even its crooked head that stared unflinching
at the sun. Not one except for a single flower
that rose from a wart protruding from its belly,
petals the color of a birthing dawn split wide
to welcome the sun. It didn’t blossom long.
Like you it breathed for just a little while.
Like me the cactus lost its only flower.


A former journalist, Rashmi Vaish now lives and writes in New York’s North Country.


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