Prelude and Other Poems

By Samreen Chhabra

1 – Prelude

Houses with mirrors at their doorstep
are a wonder in the realm
of interior design, they are
a prelude to the home that awaits
you, once you cross the obstacle
that is yourself.

They are a silent interrogation,
a question left in your way,
to proceed or to stay.

To step into the kitchen
where small-town-small-talk toasts
upon a stove,
or to enter the maze
of a crowded living room.
Mantelpieces desperate to force conversation,
where there could have been the gaze,
of one’s own
kind disquiet.

2 – One Day Women | Once a Day Women

I have discharged myself
of my duties.

I no longer intend to tend to what’s required of me.

I do as I please which is to say
that the afternoons
I find myself in,
are laden with lounging
on a patch of grass
peeling mangoes backward
with my canines,
and fondly finding
my face in muddy puddles,
glistening, unclean,
to be splashed on, by the world

3 – Reparation Hour

In the fridge lies your bowl of beaten coffee,
the scrambled eggs slide off the pan
and into your plate.

You are foraging the table for the wrong knife
to butter your bread,
a portion of lettuce sits
like a statement waiting
to be understood,
on the tray to your left.

You and I are busy verbalising thoughts,
the regular morning espresso
brews in a corner
to cushion the sting of headlines
and crisp rants extracted from Excel spreadsheets.

There are words falling into our plates,
yet the loudest sound in the room
is of the gaps between them.

Samreen Chhabra (she/her/they) is a research fellow of Psychology, writer and theatre artist from Chandigarh, and is currently based at Delhi, India. Her work has appeared in The Wire, The Poetry Business UK, and the anthology ‘A Map Called Home’ among others. @samreen.chhabra on Instagram

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