Four Poems

    By Kashiana Singh


    Nearly done, the tree nudges
    a falling, its leaves unmoored
    like wanton voices of ghosts
    their flat shapes floating still

    each leaf in obeisance, as it
    rests its forehead, collapsed
    in crisp offerings, swirling in
    to the folding skins of earth

    what do leaves know, fleeing
    of a lover’s allure, dark as the
    snake’s shadow, falling into
    gurgling craters of the ocean

    the trees will always stand
    lovers in denial, symphony
    of their sounds suspended
    between ripening seasons

    the earth will lament, sure
    as death, as subdued gaze
    of winter is birthed inside
    the fire of autumn’s eyes

    prelude to spring, putrid
    breath, drawn like yawns
    from metastasised lungs
    of a stubborn underbrush


    In between mumbling of holy chants
    the sea exhales loud sighs, spasms of
    a body receding into its own shroud
    rising and crashing against the winds

    exhaling another accusation at a stark
    tucked in sky, an unadorned sprawl of
    distilled whispers, a horizon staring at
    a bird’s eye view of an endless jawline

    elsewhere, the sun stays stranded like
    a stale promise, toothless it engraves
    the ocean with bite marks, a jigsaw of
    seagulls tear their beaks into delirium

    bleached pale, the sweaty shore renews
    its affair with the rituals of waxing and
    waning, of pockmarked moons, all nine
    faces preserved inside a vinaigrette of

    nights, shapeshifting into a lepidolite
    mélange, stars pine for lulled sound
    tracks, smoking like omens, their
    glitter is severed from the sky, hush

    disappearing into the liquid frescoes
    spilling with leftover names of dead


    the sky an


    static with


    *Maya – (Sanskrit: “magic” or “illusion”) a fundamental concept in Hindu philosophy. Maya originally denoted the magic power with which a god can make human beings believe in what turns out to be an illusion. Maya also means prakriti or Nature, believed to be responsible for concealing the real truths of existence from us beings, therefore creating an alternative reality of delusion prevents the journey towards salvation or nirvana from the cycle of birth and death.

    Flame of the forest

    You flame of the forest
    I urge you to engulf again
    in a bhikshu rapture, filling
    fulfilling my barren aravalis
    with embalmed scents
    an incessant tapestry
    of scorched sunsets

    You of leafless simplicity
    an endearing collage of
    holi coloured indulgence
    a riot against the desert
    winds, jubilantly alive
    I summon your virility
    be immaculate
    an aphrodisiac
    let your succulence
    stitch a tapestry
    of majestic light
    across the vacant
    hills, drained and
    sparsely clothed

    be the mendicant
    over slippery stones
    feet held together
    by the threaded
    chants of empty
    caves, echoes of
    widowed songs

    You of tri-foliage leaves
    be Brahma, Vishnu, Siva in renunciation
    your plumes divine and flowerets aplomb
    be crimson hymns
    strain colours into
    the muslin skies
    teach these mountains
    to be resplendent with
    a caramelised glaze

    You of wild ornaments, and spoonfuls of blood
    You of medicine pods on crooked Palash stems
    You of red, crimson and tangerine
    You shed yourself as you glow like
    skin of unpregnant ripened wombs
    be the yin to her yang
    be the rust to her rotten
    be the fertile to her barren
    be the mirror to her opaque
    be the hermit to her homestead

    Obituary for our Earth

    “A cloud never dies.” – Theme for the seven-day service for Thich Nhat Hanh in California

    Earth – pronounced dead

    Remains gathered in a peacock’s plume.
    Stained like the ink of signed petitions on
    her electric feathers, as blue as peacock blue.
    Each vein pigmented meticulously, feathers fanning
    rhythms of the earth. A grotesque dance rises
    from the stillness of tombstones, each tombstone as
    flat as the hollow sound of bones without ashes. Weep
    ing in her belly, hope, like the cacophonous buzzing of a
    beehive, gathered in equitable patterns. Thick air is picking
    on lashes of grief like flicked strings mocking a cello. Graves
    wrapped with wreaths of words, each wreath is bound together
    by bone dry remains of trees. Each branch above crackling like a
    funeral pyre of combustible wood. Hyenas arrive in a riot of howls
    the forest becoming a bustum. Spiders insist on weaving loss into the
    crevices of beaded breath, poised at the asphalt edge of mankind’s loss

    Inscribed – into the emptiness left behind

    Savage man still grasping at the lesson of listening
    calling attention to the scarcity of my broken spine
    each vertebra dead, yet thirsting to sprout anew. If
    the man and his brood pause from a never-ending
    revelry. If man and his hunger eat the nectar of my
    oozing wounds. If man wraps my shivering skies in
    to his selfish arms. If men carry me on shoulders to
    the bowl of an eternal ocean, then bringing me home.
    It rains in places that are as dry as an infant’s cheeks.
    Borrow some ash from Thay’s grave and sprinkle it
    across my calloused chest, capture my nimble breaths.

    When Kashiana Singh is not writing, she lives to embody her TEDx talk theme of Work as Worship into her every day. She currently serves as Managing Editor for Poets Reading the News. Her chapbook Crushed Anthills by Yavanika Press is a journey through 10 cities. Her newest collection, Woman by the door, is being released in February 2022 with Apprentice House Press, Maryland. Kashiana lives in North Carolina and carries all her geographical homes within her poetry.

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