Fall 2008, Volume 5

Poetry by Hari Bhajan Khalsa


I fell in love with a swan.
He was my father. He was my god.
He was the boy next door, named Billy.

He was no one I knew.

I gave myself to his glide across a pond,
ripples purling in his wake.

I swam in his draft, turning neither right nor left.

When the weather was good we'd soar
over bluebell and fireweed in quilted meadows,
nuzzle newborn grass,
our beaks just grazing, now and again.

Is a kind of bondage with no north or south,
only the migration of one into the other,
the better truth?

The wind is invisible,
but the tree knows it by touch.

Do you feel my breath rush past your shoulder?
My snowy wings flutter over your heart?


leaves, pools of anti-freeze.
Dollars, tens and twenties.
the monster
in your (my) eyes.
from the sea, the air.
Spring and what is
across the heath.
When it's all over,
a feathered
spread. Aqua-
marine, tourmaline,
certain breeds
of turquoise.
Cat eyes, the heart
of a bruise.
to pass through, how
I remember
summer: alfalfa
in simmering fields,
the finger-prick
of raspberry stems, carnivals, my father
patrolling the yard. How
we could never know then
(how we weren't
the least bit interested).
that's turned. Slices of melon,
their bitter
of rind.

BIO:  Hari Bhajan Khalsa graduated from Vermont College with a B. A. in Creative Writing in 2005 (after a hiatus from school for 30 years). Her time is split between the sprawling city of Los Angeles and the little mountain town of Sisters, Oregon. Her work has been published, or is forthcoming, in Fulcrum, New York Quarterly, Eclipse, Comstock Review, Sow's Ear, Roanoke Review, Tiger's Eye, Schuylkill Valley Journal and Phantasmagoria.