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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