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.

    Subscribe to our newsletter To Recieve Updates

      The Latest
      • The Usawa Newsletter June ‘24

        There are no chairs for audience in the court room You sit on the window sill

      • Test
      • Navigating Appetites, Feminism, Loneliness, & Murder

        Butter is the first of the books by prolific Japanese writer Asako Yuzuki, to be

      • Food That Becomes Something More – Aditi Yadav Reviews The Kamogawa Food Detectives

        In his magnum opus, The Physiology of Taste, published in December 1825, just

      You May Also Like
      • Queen of the Jungle: Mataram

        Every tiger is special and precious but there are only handfuls of them

      • Two Poems By Semeen Ali

        Hunting for a Self If it wasn’t enough The dogs decided to hold

      • Arundhati Subramaniam’s Women Who Wear Themselves review by Dr Rahana K Ismail

        The world is split Blocks and brackets Sects and silos Each with a checklist

      • Talking Trees and Literary Paths By Bhaswati Ghosh

        How rapturous, this dance of light on leaves The wild storm in the shal forest