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Saima Afreen

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Saima Afreen

The Staircase Where the Last of the Dark Roses Bloomed

         is not from Babel. It’s smooth-white. Like a cluster of lilies
blooming on a porcelain teapot. Faint, fragile
hanging between conversations
embedded with what Eden
has stolen from souls.
A garden of changing lights? Thick green?
The way it was from eternity growing
In mist released from cold roses
Trembling, in love, sinful. Marked
With indolence, blasphemy, prophetic.

The restless hearts within. One satisfied
Others wanting more. Sinning more.
Apologising more. Reaping what the harvest
Left long back when Adam grew first wheat
His children. The love between the stars and the dust.
         The first fornication.
Crows digging a grave. Pale hair. Black hair
The divide. The lost maps of days, dawns and dusks
often search for.
Rising, falling like humans.

Like this staircase
where Abel and Cain may have kissed each other.

The crop of post-its is ripe
With curled yellow corners
          folded orange turns

The day’s work done,
Pens capped. I fold each of them
Into a bird
Release them into shahmina dusk
And pocket only the dry gum
That once connected me to them

The streets below are a harvest of stars
Nobody reaps; it reeks
of ink
When my finger blades
Disturb its mirror.

An Origami art
I learn, unlearn and relearn
Like blows of Christ
Coming in to the world in intervals.


Is it 1960? Perhaps.
I am torn-unborn in a family album
My face in silverfish

A man with waves in his ebony hair
Parts rivers with his pink knuckles
Howrah Bridge closes inside him
Brass lamps hung inside tea-shops
Are buttons on his sherwani
Throwing trembling stars on red flags

Toys, cakes, story books run past
The thumping steam engine
The black soot clouds my eyes
I call him, he doesn’t hear
Glitter-dust from his skull cap
Falls on my chiffon scarf

The hours he set in his HMT watch
Tear open their seams on my bedside table

My throat is a tunnel
Or is the lamplight brighter around your lips?

Let me move your photo-frame
Closer to my younger years


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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