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Pallavi Padma-Uday
Pallavi Padma-Uday

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Cats in our windows
stargazing into futures
they can never have.

Green grass to run over,
warm cats from other homes,
scruffy tall trees to scratch
all in an open field.

Squish them, feed them, cuddle them,
just what we do to our children
who will go out into the world someday,
twisting our hearts in knots.

Cats in our windows,
grow big, grow old
into lives they can never have.


Might I suggest what removes distress?
Not meditation, no prayers,
anger, no, never employ any
of the futile methods.
Just find a piece of cloth,
Cut it to size, in rectangles,
Squares, circles, and begin
dusting, mopping, sponging
every corner gathering dust.
Leave no spot untouched,
search within, without,
keep scrubbing stains
until they come off, like
blood from blade cuts,
regrets from heart,
fear from the mind,
aches from the limbs.
Walk all the distance
to dissolve in buckets
of your beautiful beliefs,
take all you want to
wear them up your sleeves,
pour into drains the distress
you don’t need.
Don’t do it all in a day.
Remove all the doubts today,
Spray-kill naysayers tomorrow.


How do I tell the colour of desire,
may be pink, may be blue,
may be black, you may never accept
but it can be black.
Black as the night that nurses it,
black as the tongue that stokes it,
black as the blood that curdles
in bodies ravaged by war.
Every battle for love is war,
marked by slow deaths,
unrequited passions,
random peaks and troughs
of fulfilment, quiver of sensations,
disappointments, failures.
Into that world where nothingness
brings you back to living,
to wanting more from life,
see the colours you want to see
but desire, let this be black,
black enough to swallow
the universe, all shame,
boundaries, fears, phantoms,
everything they say should
never be eaten.


Some days I wake up feeling
like I can no longer wake up,
my mind a ball of dry cotton wool
floating, floating like there is nothing
to look forward to no more,
my eyes shut off like a door shut
during off hours
at the temple, church, mosques,
faithless, like denied beggars are.
I often wish I could go and pray
to seek some life into my wasted life,
to lift this decadent haze off
my mind, my soul, my heart in strife.
I don't know what it is, exactly what
that makes me this unhappy,
bitter, sad - pining for the end
I must meet because
what else must loneliness achieve
except a heap full of rotten meat
left for the eagles to prey?
In that flesh, no one will see
broken dreams, all my defeats,
no heart left to keep on breathing.


Issue 102 (Mar-Apr 2022)

  • Editorial
    • Semeen Ali: Editorial Note
  • Poems
    • Abitha Athmaram
    • Akshita Pattiyani
    • Anish Jha
    • Gopikrishnan Kottoor
    • Megha Anne
    • Michael David Sowder
    • Mitra Samal
    • Pallavi Padma-Uday
    • Roseangelina Baptista
    • Saibal Debbarma
    • Sat Paul Goyal
    • Shakti Pada Mukhopadhyay
    • Zeenat Khan