though I never met you or my other grandfather
though I think I would like you more based upon
the July letter that I now read, though you wrote it
to my mother who you call Chinni, meaning sugar
or sweetheart. Because, Nana, everything you write
is measured, like your advice to my mom on cows
and feeding them as recommended in the Vedas
though I doubt she could find tamarind, jackfruit,
and neem, American cows will settle for ryegrass
and plain hay. I imagine more greenery in Rajasthan,
and double the roaming cattle though I see plenty here
in Iowa, a place that’s acceptably green, but questionably
flat as though herds seeking sweet corn pummeled the hills
from the ground. I’m not one for the outdoors anyway.
You anticipate this. Your mention of books is uncanny;
how you tell my mom to consult with a librarian,
then bring me tales of Rama and Jesus Christ
and St. Francis of Assisi communing with animals.
You recommend hardcover with lush illustrations
so that I too may learn grace and respect for nature.
Did you know, Nana, that I would become
a recluse, only leaving my cave apartment
to buy booze and fresh-cut lilies that shudder
in the heat and scatter neon pollen on my table?
I’m not happy in one place for long, but you understand.
You call Pilani a rather rotten hell for booklovers,
and so I hope that you have wound up somewhere
in the archives, not in repose, but busied with tomes.