Two Poems

    By Barnali Ray Shukla

    Earth calling

    She sat stitching a river
    along hems, fraying with myths
    of going underground

    The silt doesn’t breathe
    sits by the edges,
    bakes mud cakes of journeys
    a return gift for
    the delta

     

    Pebbles caper
    roll  

         pause

               for

                    a

    breath

              in a brook,
    pluck rainbows
    on their way,
    no rush for gold
    but
    rocks grow bolder

    Rocks don’t hold water
    they try
               pry

                   skirt the issue

    roll

         tumble

    roll

           along the rush downstream

    tear her sides
    reckless

                   with gravity—

    She dances along
    in her frenzy
    discomfiting sages
    across ages
    beyond a curse
    to tone down
    bow and bend—

    She does that

                       just that

                               only for the Mother.

    First published in The Mud Proposal in the 57th Issue of Kaurab.

    Waiting is the same in any language

    She has worn winter
    sworn silence, come March
    she’s woken up
    in a language wet with noise
    to bank on earth on her way
    to an address, in her wings
    of water
    flapping, relentless,
    a dream safe within her
    to meet the ocean
    adding salt to taste –

    He folds himself
    along the bed of rocks
    waits for her
    to savour his call
    in her words
    she speaks
    sweet
    and he
    salt
    but waiting is the same in any language.

    First published in The Mud Proposal in the 57th Issue of Kaurab

    Barnali Ray Shukla is a writer, filmmaker and a poet. Her writing has featured in Sunflower Collective, OutOfPrint, Kitaab.org, OUTCAST, Madras Courier, Bengaluru Review, Indian Ruminations, Vayavya, The Brown Critique, Kaurab, Usawa Literary Review, Gallerie, Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry II, indianculturalforum.in, Indian Quarterly, The Punch Magazine. Modern English Poetry by Younger Indians [SahityaAkademi], The World That Belongs to Us [Harper Collins, India], Have a Safe Journey [Amaryllis, India] Side Effects of Living [Speaking Tiger], Hibiscus [Hawakal Publishers], Open Your Eyes [Hawakal Publishers], The Kali Project (Indie Blu-e Publishing], Borderless [Singapore], Voice & Verse [Hong Kong], UCityReview [USA], A Portrait in Blues [UK], Centre for Stories [Australia]. She has one feature film to her credit as writer director, three documentaries and two short films, a book of poems, Apostrophe. [RLFPA 2016]. She lives with her plants, books and a husband in Mumbai. Her next feature film, titled Joon, is expected to release this monsoon.

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