Contemporary Literary Review India | Print ISSN 2250-3366 | Online ISSN 2394-6075 | Impact Factor 8.1458 | Vol. 10, No. 1: CLRI February 2023

Kyle Vaughn

Mirabai (Make me your teacher)

No one—none—has ever brought the bowl to me,

or consumed the water.

Sit at my feet.

I have lessons on beauty.

I know best that which I perceive but am not.

I make a paper bird for your hair,

having first written

your name on the tree.

It orbits eyes setting with dusk,

another way of

saying I desire you.

It migrates:

tundra, grassland,


I bring water

to a shore and open

the door for its music.


Mirabai (Is there a time limit)

Is there a time limit on lifting this mountain?

It may take long, but I am committed.

But what is this riddle about the animal kingdom?

Does the Lord really require midnight tears?

I just want to worship at the edges of the gold around your feet.

And I want you to write the second line of this couplet.

There is something to be said for clarity.

Instead of love words, just show me the well of your navel.

Or at least perform a song

I would recognize as for me.

I am a priest with a poison name:

sing it to be saved.


Mirabai (While you were waiting)

While you were waiting on that mountainrise,

I was training my bird to carry you over.

I even fashioned a basket with that technique from the Quechua,

but you snapped the grass coils in an unconscious stare.

I won’t say you were wrong.

Devotion is a path bricked as deep as marrow.

Destruction, too.

We are both wise to recognize our end.

I aged waiting to be your Lord,

even though I knew you’d choose the invisible.

But is there really a point to eating alone

if we’re both feasting on a dinner of asps?


Kyle Vaughn is the author of Calamity Gospel (Cerasus Poetry, 2023), The Alpinist Searches Lonely Places (Belle Point Press, 2022), and Lightning Paths: 75 Poetry Writing Exercises (NCTE Books, 2018) and the co-author/co-photographer of A New Light in Kalighat (American Councils for International Education, 2013). His poems have appeared in journals such as The Bangalore Review, The Journal, A-Minor, Adbusters, The Boiler, Drunken Boat, Poetry East, Vinyl, the museum of americana (2022 Best of the Net nomination), and The Shore (2021 Pushcart Prize nomination).

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