Sin Collector


Still Life with Five Bottles: Vincent van Gogh


Collecting sins in old bottles, the days reach out and drop them
in like pebbles, still smelling of fond river beds. Yesterday, it was

the temptation of an improbable love, too big to fit into that
slim hipped flask, but sin is pliable, twists and changes as it is

gathered, as we change its name, change its colour, make it
bearable in the morning. When all those hours, all those words,

all that feel of skin on skin has been corked, when the bottles fill
the shelves and rooms and toss and turn on the breasts of the

tides, when everything has been cleansed and bathed and the rain
never stops falling, tell me then, when did love become a mistake.


Thank you Lorette C. Luzajic, for publishing my poem at The Ekphrastic Review.

49 thoughts on “Sin Collector

  1. I take great pleasure in recognising your style, and your poetry still has the same effect as a luxurious express or massala chai, exceedingly good for the digestion, and perturbingly addictive. I found your latest, those thick “paragraph” style poems wonderful to immerse myself into, a rich experience not unlike immersing myself into your haibun, which are unlike many I have read, and in fact I miss, in that “addictive” way again! The “ghazal” type poetry (excuse my ignorance of form) I particularly enjoy too, though of course it is more than just “enjoy.” And so I wanted to say thank you, for the enrichment you give.


  2. ” but sin is pliable” . . . ” “The breasts of the waves” Good golly–maybe that love is misplaced and shouldn’t be in sin bottles at all!


  3. I have come back several times to reread this. What does one say to this tightly woven, layered and sensuous imagery? Wow! That just seems too simple. I wish I had written this? I couldn’t. I do what I do, and you do what is yours alone to do. I love it? Yes, I do. Which brings me to your final question: “When did love become a mistake?” When it is held prisoner. Love has only one purpose and that is to heal. It must be given freely and continuously or not fulfill its purpose. But you knew that already, or you couldn’t have written this. So, thank you,



    1. Elizabeth, always lovely to hear from you. You are so right, love has to be free to seek its purpose and totally unconditional. One can’t hope to tame it and still expect it to be true… thanks so much.


  4. Those first five words feed wonder into the imagination. They make want to explore that bottles in a fantastic-scientific way–what kind of fungus might sin grow? Does it eat glass? Can the container contain the rot? I wonder, wonder, wonder…


  5. Congratulations on the publication, Ranjani! There is so much to love about this poem, from the phrases ‘Collecting sins in old bottles’ and ‘pebbles, still smelling of fond river beds’, to ‘
    all that feel of skin on skin has been corked, when the bottles fill
    the shelves and rooms and toss and turn on the breasts of the


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