Kiurn Kapur
| poetry


The god Hephaestus had it, too.

A yoke. A plow. A word


for punishment in public:

pillory. From Kyphon,


meaning bent or crooked.

I greet the diagnosis


with a recognition that’s bone

deep. What twisted me,


what cause has hurt so long,

I hunch and barely notice it at all?


The surgeon’s neat hands

demonstrate deformed


and fractured vertebrae.

His explanation’s clean


and straight. He’s not inclined

to metaphor. To work


under a weight— to show

your nature in your shape:


an ox, a crippled welder

of helmets and shields.


The lame one, the halting one,

maker of objects that can speak


to what’s unfixable, hunch-backed

above the mouth of the forge.

Kirun Kapur is the winner of the Arts & Letters Rumi Prize in Poetry and the Antivenom Poetry Award for her first book, Visiting Indira Gandhi’s Palmist. Her work has appeared in AGNI, Poetry International, FIELD, Prairie Schooner and many other journals. She serves as poetry editor at The Drum and teaches at Amherst College.

Invocation to Time/No Time