Two Poems

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
          in a brook,
pluck rainbows
on their way,
no rush for gold
rocks grow bolder
Rocks don’t hold water
they try
               skirt the issue
       along the rush downstream
tear her sides
               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
and he
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,, OUTCAST, Madras Courier, Bengaluru Review, Indian Ruminations, Vayavya, The Brown Critique, Kaurab, Usawa Literary Review, Gallerie, Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry II,, 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.