Theorems of loss

What if you found a one-rupee coin lying in the dust on market street? Is it yours to keep?

What if you wanted to give it away? Is it yours to do what you will?

What if no one cares these days about a rupee more or a rupee less? Is it not something still?

What if the laws of belonging don’t apply to the little things, what if the theorems of loss cannot prove what doesn’t matter? How do their stories end?

And what if I forgot your lips and your eyes and the pain, what if that time fell soundlessly into a timeless sea?  Not mine, not yours, whose is that night instead?

sixth cup of tea —
this morning
is neither here nor there

For things we know

Once upon a time, a tree grew at the edge of the highway
from a seed dropped by a careless bird. And every day he

missed the garden, the warmth of roots, the touch of other
leaves, even the song of birds. There must be words in

some languages for such yearning, for things we know
without knowing the words for them. Just points on an arc

of rightness. An infinite horizon that separates the
manifest from the improbable. Isn’t that why the universe

keeps expanding? Isn’t that why spring keeps returning,
why a tree keeps growing, alone, in a garden of moving

cars? Isn’t that why a tree gives up and walks away with its
roots and the moon triangulates that emptiness and sighs?

Some things just are.

The transformation of is to was — like an overcast
morning, the inevitability of sunshine and the

possibility of rain are not equal, there are all kinds
of ways to foretell all kinds of things — yet, an

umbrella bears consideration. Some things just are.
Like seeing you now across the street and not

stopping, not slowing down, not wondering where
you’re going, not remembering an hour later, all

the times it rained and words got wet — some words
that were quiet, cold, running down heated skin,

some warm, dissolving in light tapered on window
sills — not thinking at night that some things should

not be together, like sunshine and morning rain:
rainbows too are surely errors of judgement.

The moon is what it is

We look for formless visions of ourselves in the
distance. But we haven’t found ourselves, not

even lost ourselves. Not yet. Between us is the
desert of halves. Is love more memorable when

it fails? More likely to last forever? I am told to
find bigger things to be grateful for: sperm,

geometry, the blue probability of a kingfisher. I
thank pain that fills fissures like wet cement so I can

wake up whole in the morning. It was happiness
that broke us when we weren’t looking. The

moon is what it is — a fiction of movement and
light. It is the sky that is unfaithful. Or the mind.

I make lists of small things, unclaimed things,
unproclaimed things: Quarter past two in the

afternoon, steamed rice, my name, uncertain,
sitting like a wingless crow upon a stranger’s lip.

 

 

In other February news, am delighted to be one of ten poets named by The Ekphrastic Review in their annual awards list. Very grateful to the editor, Lorette C. Luzajic. Do check out this brilliant platform if you read/write poetry in this genre. This award is for my poem, Corollary, which is on their site as well as in my book, Water to Water.

And if you haven’t read my first flash fiction piece yet, here’s the link. Let me know what you think. Better yet, share your flash fiction as well!

 

Let’s wonder about other things

I question the transience of the past. I question its
existence. Doesn’t the past exist, even after it
doesn’t? Isn’t the present, the after-life of the past —
the ghostly chill that shimmers, feet-less, around
graves, in the moonlight? I struggle with tenses. We
made love. Fervent love. Now that love is an
apparition in white. Or we are. Verbs transmogrify
into waiting. Love resurrects in a purgatory of its
own creation. Let’s wonder about other things —
things we told each other, things we told ourselves,
things that were never true. What happens to lies
when they cross time-fences? How will the unreal
survive its not-being? You tell me. I can feel your
fingers scorch my skin. I tell myself I am dreaming.
I tell myself reality undid itself that night. You
tell me which tense it is – that unspoken goodbye?

Print/e-book on Amazon

Walking on My Khe Beach

The weary sea yawns wide, knees tucked under her chin,
wrapped in a silken sheet of rippling grey, unaffected

by the falling sky who tosses as if in a dark fever, brows
knit, fingers extended towards the shore, wanting the arms

of the reluctant ocean, wishing the clouds would lead
him away, maybe somewhere else there is the warmth of a

more willing bed. I walk along the edge, a lone fishing boat
stalls, refusing to return empty handed, the birds yelling

at him as they pass, gather your nets and accept your
hunger, the moon will not come to you tonight. Perhaps,

that’s all we need, something to move us, something to move
towards, something that cannot bear to see us standing still.

I pull my jacket close and shiver, there is a breeze, the
ghostly light of a boat, and definitely, a cold, cold breeze.

And No Further

there comes a bend in that road,
where time halts for tea and a cigarette,
and probability rushes off into the narrowing distance,
blurring wishful untruth and cold circumstance,
that’s how long love, even real love,
can hold its bruised breath,
that’s how long you can chase the subjunctive,
that far and no further;

grandma taught me a game once,
played with five brown cowrie shells,
tossing one into the air,
and scooping up the rest,
before it dropped neatly,
a delighted ping in the middle of her
small age crusted hand,
you have to know how to throw it, she’d say,
too far and it will angle away,
too near and there won’t be time,
always that far and no further;

and the evening I made deals with a god
I did not know, I could not see,
just give me this full night, I bartered,
and you can hand me an empty forever,
he smiled with his faceless face
and sighed through his formless form,
what colour is that benevolence?
here, he said, dropping the sun
into the organza pleats of the sea,
tonight will be longer, stars will outshine the moon,
but even your love, even real love, can take you
only that far and no further;

but alone is not alone when it smells
of ash and reheated tea,
and the past clatters on mosaic tiles
like broken cowrie shells,
frightened stars peek from behind
emboldened clouds, pregnant with day,
stacks of what might have been
stare back at you with familiar eyes,
memory keeps the mind on a tight leash,
and love arcs back to your lips no matter
how high you throw it,
how will you forget to remember
you have to dream to size,
that far and no further.