Khairlanji. The darkness of humanity percolates into corners over the skins of the mother and her daughter, those sons, the father.
The darkness of the witching hour. Indigestible truths consumed in brittle cognizance.
When history has reasons and explanations.
Genocidal waves. Discrimination waves. Feministic waves.
Blind rage of the immeasurable… appropriation of pain.
Khairlanji can be explained away, rationalized, reasoned with.
Like the light kissing the cheeks of another morning of other lives –
when we held cappuccino cups and the sun smelt
into a wealthy smile. The ferris wheel of souls. Khairlanji: Casablanca.
Hathras and Havana.
One life asked questions – the other had to answer and sometimes
that answer was in dark quietness.
If all lives were a tale of anguish between its acts,
when was the life to feel the light,
over anguished skin?
Which life was an interval?
Water wheel – the stops at those stations where electricity had never reached.
One life in Hathras.
The other thinking of it.
compost, last stage –
darning the patchwork
to the zillionth hour
Now that it roams the wide streets,
we paint a smile over masks, letter a balloon,
make Lego of port containers, paint graffiti over walls,
banner the mountain peak, ride bicycles with flags,
keep flowers by the sill, illuminate our monuments and towers,
light up the parliament, the medicinal green of stadiums.
Mask our pets, statuettes,
light lamps, chime plates
play music by the verandahs,
blink in dits and dahs like lighthouses
for the middle-of-the-seas.
So if it turns, it sees the spirit we keep
matching the wireless telegraphy
of nature’s cherry blossom, autumnal gild,
oceanic blur, the medicinal green of harvest fields.
Off gridlocks of words and letters
an undivided conversation in Morse code
with our telephone operator
from quarantined spots, framing
vital codes of hope
reaching the object code:
a dumbcharades of ΣΩDϋЯдп¢Э
They are bursting on the streets
from a deep gash,
wounds to capillaries,
leaving the atriums and ventricles
vesicles of this city
that has closed the gates on them.
They are hemorrhaging
after delivering their daily karma
of nutrients, oxygen to each cell
away and back, from the city
of vital substance.
They are releasing between (two) heartbeats –
a circulation of desperation –
internal, external hematoma
Feet sprouting bare earth,
from two vena cavas
of a city contracting
They are cleaning, carting it
away through tricuspid valves
they themselves disappearing
off all the cobalt streets –
from a deep slash
of our intracranial, intracerebral
Fictionist | Poet | Critic | Curator | Editor | Translator | Screenwriter Rochelle Potkar’s poetry film ‘Skirt’ features on Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland. Her book of haibun, ‘Paper Asylum’ was shortlisted for the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2020. She is an alumna of Iowa’s International Writing Program (2015) and a Charles Wallace Writer’s fellow, University of Stirling (2017), and has read her poetry in India, Bali, Iowa, Macao, Stirling, Glasgow, Hongkong, Ukraine, Hungary, Bangladesh, and the Gold Coast. ‘Bombay Hangovers’, her short story collection is due soon. Read more of her work here!
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