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Meera Sagar

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Meera Sagar

You smell it before you glimpse its shape
outlined against the haze. The first breath
is dust storms in the gullet, but as you cough
and sputter, it gets easier.
                             And then the clotted air
closes around you till you barely sense
the day turning to sap, how a fly persists
at your windscreen, the fading green
of bottles in a crate, or fruit skins swelling
                               with something to say.
Red, as usual,
or more exactly, a deep, rich
crimson that screams
love and blood,           
and murmurs soft,
velvet. They sit
fat with confidence, plush
in the new summer sun.
But one day, soon, now,
they begin to loosen,
coming undone as though
the spring that held them
coiled were giving way.
Not a clean, glass
breaking; they fester and
simmer with decay
as the outer petals slump
and curl, their sick
bled-out edges
crumbling to ash, the
inner ones flaking,
falling away, till
circle by circle, the whole
melts apart, in a velvet-soft
death for love, revealing
nothing at the heart.
Unreal, too real,                      
country over there,
how we stared            
at your shape lurking
in the top left corner
of the classroom map. 
                    We listened
when they told us how
suddenly you appeared, twisting
across the horizon – as now
the barbed wire grows, gathers
speed, carving sky and
mustard fields. But
once it recedes,
the same dust tracks,
yellow brick walls, tea stalls 
in chalk-white, ponds
black with sludge and buffaloes.
                  No way to grasp
difference so vagrant it
wavers in a word
or a phrase, bends in the curve
of alphabets.
A man tells a story, a child
sings to herself. Voices
blur into each other, and the
light is indeterminate
as the season: late winter?
early spring?
           But the city’s beauty is
unreckoned-for, too
certain of itself, mocking
all I might have lost
or what I tell myself I
once possessed.
Yet these domes and towers
belong to no one but themselves,
turning inwards, while the boats
come bearing flowers, watching
themselves amid reflected
poplars, magnolia, amaltas, gazing
at each other across the
water’s face. And here I
trace these contours but
the core is imperceptible,
ever-present, unreachable, like
laughter in an alien tongue.
                      This world’s not known
nor foreign; never still, never
caught by passing light.
A lattice shifts in the sun,
stone walls withdraw
to shadow. Someone
sweeps up winter’s dust,
petals, words fading from the
books they lived in for so long.
                      In the market, women
bicker over jewelled clips, bags,
buckles, lengths of spangled
cloth unfurled: imaged in
so many eyes,
things shimmering and
fragile as the night,
its broken pieces framed
in doorways, windows,
squares, in fragments visible only
against the vanishing day.
                      A bangle seller calls me
where boxes empty and fill
with brass, lac, copper;
red and blue and green,
laid out to shine.
I choose what I think
will be mine    
to take away: this pair
in clear glass, in the colour
of absence; its substance, its shape.


Feature–Contemporary Indian English Poetry

    Editorial: GJV Prasad

    Abhay K
    Aishwarya Iyer
    Akhil Katyal
    Amlanjyoti Goswami
    Ananya S Guha
    Arup K Chatterjee
    CS Bhagya
    Debasish Lahiri
    Devdan Chaudhuri
    Dhananjay Singh
    Gertrude Lamare
    Goirick Brahmachari
    Joie Bose
    Maaz bin Bilal
    Malsawmi Jacob
    Meera Sagar
    Nabina Das
    Nitoo Das
    Priya Sarukkai-Chabria
    Rajesh Kumar
    Ranu Uniyal
    rizio yohannan raj
    Rochelle Potkar
    Saima Afreen
    Sanjeev Sethi
    Semeen Ali
    Shelly Bhoil
    Smeetha Bhoumik
    Srilata K
    Sudeep Sen
    Sukrita Paul Kumar
    Sumana Roy
    Tabish Khair
    Taseer Gujral
    Uddipana Goswami
    Usha Akella
    Uttaran Das Gupta
    Vivek Narayanan
    Linda Ashok

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