‘Under the Volcano,’
A Poem by Diane Mehta

From her Collection Forest with Castanets

April 19, 2019  By Diane Mehta

Fanatical in knowledge, we are always losing.
Today I was fingerprinted, proved in the world.

Immediately the other part dwindled.
I was so empty, birds settled in me.

I walked down 3rd Street to the playground
without my son. A bluegrass band jangled.

He was with his father in his trapeze life—
split-house swing of moving platforms.

Every night I’m in-between here and Mexico
paining through Lowry’s drunk-dense sentences.

The steady liquor of light, his blackouts,
burns back the married affections I cherished.

I mine my alphabet of comics, soil of dirt-sounds.
Chapters with fanciful ghosts I marvel into—

Gin-swooning confusions under Popocatépetl,
gutted with marriage-breakings. I miss my son.

Today, sun-saturated moments are elsewhere,
he in his father’s arms, and I distantly entangled.


“Under the Volcano” from Forest with Castanets © 2019 by Diane Mehta. Appears with the permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.

Diane Mehta
Diane Mehta
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, and raised in Bombay and New Jersey, Diane Mehta studied with Derek Walcott and Robert Pinsky in the 90s and has been an editor at PEN America’s Glossolalia, Guernica, and A Public Space. Her debut poetry collection Forest with Castanets was published by Four Way Books in 2019. Her book about writing poetry was published by Barnes & Noble books in 2005. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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