Three Poems

by Shilpa Thapliyal

ash of becoming a nobody

(After ‘Fever 103°’ by Sylvia Plath)

Molten fires on veiny palms, raging within this burning body.
Allow a few more tides, springs to burst into, burning body!

The weariness of the night sits impure on eyelids.
What ends this hellish ache, this crying? Anybody? 

Those blue bubble graffiti! Giant bells on sidewalks!
Hospital sheets to cobbled streets, this longing, anybody?

Morning dew skates into vapor, like Isadora’s scarf in the wheel.
Buds and flowers flush a meek pink; renewing their body.

Nightly counts, timers, and discharge; the hunt for the un-boxed
paradise. A camellia, de-ceasing into a cosmic body?

Bhajans for soul’s salvation; smokeless, instant; the rise
of the body; the ash of becoming a nobody.

Flickering candle, to be snuffed, like everybody.
Flush, flush, this bronzed skin, time-bound like everybody.

Twin Cinema2  


And here,
through glass panes,
platters of silver
trimmed clouds
on tails of the westerlies
spin like salsa dancers,
sashaying their hips,
nimble flute arms swaying
alongside supple swan bodies,
stretching, linking and looping
to the beats of the soft winds.

And there,
come the howling westerlies,
the ebony clouds overriding
the cotton ivories
swallowing their music
and stringing them into patterns:
two swans pulled apart
disjoining their union.
Now a hare, now a bear.
Now, a ship
floating over oceans
ferrying a granary of memories.

And here
a uterus comes alive,
soft and tender,
having set sail from its harbor.


2 This Twin Cinema poem is inspired by the pride week celebrations that I witnessed in Copenhagen earlier this summer.It can be read in three ways as three individual poems.. Left Column, vertically top to bottom, right column vertically, top to bottom and then both columns together horizontally left to right.

3 Pride month/week is held worldwide every year to commemorate the June 1969 Stonewall riots that took place in New York. That year turned out to be a pivotal year for LGBTQ movements. A year later, the first pride parade was organised to mark the first anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. It has since gathered momentum and today most people across the world see it as an expression of freedom for their bodies.

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