For the Survivors

Kirun Kapur

Begin with a seed. Begin with the father and the mother, your first Adam and Eve. Begin with what falls from the tree: you can live on bruised and sweet. Begin with a monsoon breeze, begin with a flood, begin with miles of silk and mud and the wings of cranes and the stilt-like legs of a house with no one left inside. Begin with a young wife burying her sons and books riding the tide until they’re caught and their philosophies dried out on laundry lines. Begin with a pen, begin with a cage. Begin with the memory of what they said while you tried to turn your face away. Begin with bargains, with stains, the names of towns built over towns built over graves, begin with your life burned down. Begin with the god who hasn’t been seen since the burning bush or the goddess who steps into the flames like a housewife into a dress, or a fairy tale of hair so long that love climbed up—begin by putting your mouth to the mouth of your dreams. Begin with midnight rain and wild reeds, begin with hair and tendons, teeth. Begin with what never goes away: a highway pricked by gravel and stars, low beams on wind and trucks and emptiness. Begin. It starts with being, ends like a ringing bell: Begin. Begin. Ring your self.