Varsha (Monsoon) 2020 Poems - Cynthia Gallaher



Yellow-Robed Turmeric

By Cynthia Gallaher


Yellow-Robed Turmeric

India uproot, rising out of the curry jar,
turmeric fans yellow pungent flames
against hosts of bodily woes.


Hint of raw sienna,
in mustard, canned chicken broth
and robes of Buddhist monks,


Serving as both gourmand and ascetic,
high chrome ochre vibrates
in the same spectrum to cure jaundice.


Turmeric’s rhizome-wrapped, underground fire
has emerged from the volcano,
cleansing, burning, taking the edge off.


Will it become gilt-edged gallant in days ahead?
meanwhile, turmeric sits in the back of the refrigerator,
or blows away in Sangli markets,


No longer ancient, not quite futuristic,
sanding away ragged spurs of inflammation,
buffing the world’s doshas on its hands and ambered knees


Stinging Nettle: A Complicated Cupid

nettle’s leaves shaped like valentines,
like hearts, bear undersides of love, that sting.


miniature hypodermic needles carry
antidotes to their own upheavals,


fuzzy sharply pointed overtures,
scathe and soothe in one lavish stroke,


to make you unallergic to
whatever you’re allergic to.


are you the one attracted, rejected,
seduced, repulsed,


or the other way around?
It’s hard to tell between push and pull,


between deep breath and grand exhale,
after which your lungs completely clear.


perhaps you are both the conquered
as well as the cured.


Purple Coneflower Echinacea

every July she arrives for duty,
a sentry in tall cone helmet,
pink petal armor,
oh, decoy of delicacy,
brave flag-bearer blossom.


pretty, popular, powerful
fighter and resister,
each purple-tasseled troop
making lines of defense
against unwanted invaders.


arming us
with abundant arsenals
of roots in our cellars
to help make the common cold
a scarcity


Cynthia Gallaher, a Chicago-based poet, is author of four poetry collections, including "Epicurean Ecstasy: More Poems About Food, Drink, Herbs and Spices" (The Poetry Box, Portland, 2019), and three chapbooks, including "Drenched" (Main Street Rag, Charlotte, N.C., 2018). The Chicago Public Library lists her among its “Top Ten Requested Chicago Poets


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