Four Poems

    By Anuradha prasad


    The river, a rushing beast
    running rugged through foliage
    scraggly and thick.
    This deep out-breath of life
    seizes me—
    with thought to wind
    and only heart, I relinquish—
    together we are a clawing
    prayer, ragged hymn.
    Deep in the disappearing
    savage currents I am




    Me, a swaying sea kelp
    tender and long and brittle bones.
    Me, the bearer of silvered water moons
    clutching breasts and whirling hair.
    Me, the exalted one.



    In the jagged depths of lone nights,
    in the rapture of river, water curtains part
    trapping the cold gleam of moon in swift
    chevron scales, the white span of belly
    netted and gutted and bled on your table.


    Skywaters         descend       over
    a   marble   love   tomb   staining   white
    a   sharp   spring   leaf   burning   green
    a    far    puddle    innocently    brown
    water   bier   to   an   old   toad   belly up—
    cause   of   death,   said   the   pathologist
    as   the   diener   scraped   and   sliced,
    something that is not love.


    I never knew the beauty of the pongamia pinnata blooms, till I saw a woman, slender and linen-clad,
    wear   it   in   her   hair,   a   single   stem   in   loosely   wound   hair.

    Now I see it through her eyes, see it lying on the ground, simple and unassuming. She wouldn’t have
    plucked it, no. She is that girl you may have known in school who was quiet and sure, delicate and
    strong as bamboo reed, who saved a wayward ladybird by gently sliding a leaf under it and leaving it
    by       the       roots       of       a       tree.

    This woman, her hand would have reached down, the flower would have been lifted gingerly, her
    companions stopping and looking back at her. Look, how pretty, she would’ve said. She may have
    hesitated a moment before tucking it in her hair. She may have forgotten about it until she reached
    home and unwound her hair, her hairbrush stopping short as she saw the stem caught in the tangle of
    hair. She would have reached for an old, favorite book, the kind a silverfish is proud to call a home,
    and  saved  the  flower  between  its  pages,  her  smile  a  reverie,  there  but  not  there.

    Someday in the future, weeks, months, years later, her daughter may take that book out, catching the
    now-brown flower as it is about to fall. Holding it between two fingers, delighted, she too would say,
    how pretty.

    When Anuradha Prasad is a writer and copy editor living in Bangalore, India. She writes poetry and fiction. Her work has appeared in Literally Stories, Bangalore Review, Sleet Magazine, and Borderless Journal.

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