Ahalya to Ram

I was once young and beautiful

Until I turned a stone and hid my forehead

On the clumsy grass hallowed and brown

I stumbled and lost my form and face

I turned my speech into ashes and withheld my sighs.

How easy to hurt the woman who was cheated by gods?

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Tomorrow. You promised.

And I almost cried

needled anxiety, prodding fingers

Those between us smiled.

Caressing memories of frayed dandelions.

We raced against ties.

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Belief is hard to sustain only where there is no love

All doors of this small house have been painted red

In the belief that you would notice the change of colour

The pale curtains that have been hand washed and ironed

I put my smooth lips on the dining table mica smells of you

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Birth in fire

I came out of the

ashes that were offerings.

I was born with a pledge

to atone my father’s pride,

to assuage his grief,

his sense of shame and defeat.

Yagyaseni! Yagya seni!

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At the Dancing Square—Chowk

Let me be. She licks her scream like a morsel it

hovers in the brazen sky. My sun is caught in the rain.

Staggering halfway to the square she fixes her laughter.

Somewhere far away from the sloppy moonlight

there is a hope, red and blue.


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Hiroshi’s Hunger

There are nights

of all nights

when the sky turns crimson red

and the wind hollow. And on moon like this

Chiyuki’s Hiroshi wails for her sea-sucked breasts.

Hunger mounts and the neighbours’ laughter

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Love lies

Smoking veins that run wicked like

An old nanny whose time is running out

Doors have been closed and the moon has little to offer

We get inside as if there is no haste

And we time a plenty I put aside my old grandmother’s earrings

They often get caught when it is just right between us