Words left us, like the other gods

The sky mourns at the roof of my mouth.
I want you
but the sea more.

Stained lens of our ancient camera, look!
Shadows dissolve in the
walls of incongruent grief,

none captured.

This is a prayer for a wick,
and the last of this expensive oil
to keep at bay the living dead.

I am tempted to believe,
to outlive the absence of word,
the sadness afloat
this frozen sea of fear

half capsized.

One lives for what one cannot have,
like you, your mouth,
a wave that touches not the feet
of a receding ocean.

To Tell You This: I have tried

I measure time to pounce.
Counting my breaths in the undergrowth,
I measure time to pounce.

Let me rewind. It was the back
and it was the green and the fact that I wasn’t eight yet:
I was awaiting a tiger.

I remember the elastic mud pulling me in.
I remember the crabs clawing
at my yet pink toes.
(There must have been leeches but I forget)
I remember thinking The Tiger is scared

in a different language.

I pounce- it is a cat- your black cat- the green- the reeking
turpentine, linseed- bursts open-
                  a flock of wild orange!

Bloodied canvas of inarticulation,
Fifteen years later I decide to tell you this story
not myself.

At Dawn, I leave in Search of You

Don’t piss in my territory if I don’t belong to you.
(Do I? I still ask. The body of a drought
is a woman’s.)
Forget me but
Remember, not giving up has a flavour of its own.
The astronomers will tell you,
                                                     a trifle salty
(I’ll stay.)

Fossil of a lost sea
the sand, it tastes of salt
with its many
fish bones.

You dug a river and planted trees.
The trees were stunted.
You apologized
for having brought water to the shrivelled.
Ten days later, the desert was dead, the stars ashamed.
You said “Sorry”.

My clothes still reek of your mercy.
Only the desert snake remains,
sealed in the specimen jar.
Tomorrow, I’ll release it.

HRIDI is an artist and poet currently based in Mumbai. Often, words serve to anchor the aspects of her internal journey that colours may fail to grasp. In the world around her, she is constantly searching for the evasive, whimsical acts of Beauty and Terror, attempting to touch them through abstract impressions of reality as she perceives it.

Her literary works have previously appeared in The Bitchin’ KitschChai Copy, and The Sunflower Collective.

KRITI CHAKRABORTY, the illustrator, is a self-taught artist. He has worked as an illustrator for various little magazines and publications such as Ulto Durbin, Halum, Bagher Baccha, Kagajer Thonga, Kabikalpa, Aainanagar and others. Kriti’s paintings and illustrations can be found here.

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