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Ashwin Kannan

Ashwin Kannan

Ashwin Kannan was born in Madras and raised in Bangalore. After graduating high school, he started a B.S. in Biology at the University of Southern California, which he never finished. He moved to Pennsylvania where he lived and worked for three years before returning to U.S.C. to complete a B.A. in creative writing. He lives and writes in Los Angeles.

Elegy For Thangavelu

I remember the tall, lean frame
Of my Grandfather
Who wanted to grow teak
Instead of the puny bananas
And fibrous dribble of sugar cane,
On his loamy, ancestral land.
He wanted a tree to match his bearing,
To carry forth his nobility.
No mere fruit could assuage his ambitions.
He desired the very thigh of life
The joints and backs of tables,
The frames of buildings.
Split into planks on the carpenter's block
It's arid tapestry
Revealing the rings of years,
Expanding into the eye of decades.

When he died, his beloved trees
Were still saplings.
Green with the many envies of youth.

Los Angeles

The tallest of the palm trees here are all bent
At the very top they camber to the right or left
As if the thin air has made them dizzy.
Or as if they have peeked over the top of some invisible fence
And horror stricken by what they see, start to droop.

But it's too late for them to avert their eyes,
These bone thin monarchs with anemic crowns.
The creaking earth wants to whisper her secrets to their roots
As the ocean and desert on two sides link arms
To form the nystagmic eyes of the lemniscate.


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