syzygy and Other Poems

    By Kashiana Singh

    syzygy

    conjunction
    a massacre visible
    to the naked eye

    just sunset
    a stranded necklace
    of planets

    funeral parade
    the sky gathers
    its jewels

    nothing remains
    another astrologer
    blames Saturn

    War Stories

    cheekbone to cheekbone
    huddled together, debris
    of death, stench of mold
    incapacitating their hope

    outside children mimic
    gunshots, as frontlines
    ricochet with trembling
    clouds, ancestral echoes

    its horizon is washed red
    in stained velvet of blood
    thump of bodies like white
    noise to their muted deaf

    she wraps her shelled desires
    in a shawl, a pilgrim walking
    towards another minefield of
    stilted silence, latticed prayers

    his splintered bones washed
    away by slant rain, a bird call
    unending flight, a newborn is
    swaddled in morphined nights

    The road that winds up

    without stopping at the river rearranged
    beneath my window, the road winds up
    into the faceless distance, bending itself
    at the edge of the clock tower, standing
    stoic at the end of an unmoving south.
    above the street, draperies hang upright
    like funeral veils they cover the burden
    of absent windows, smothering dreams
    into forgetfulness behind stained glass.

    a home is unstirred behind me, at rest
    like just baked bread, it stays within its
    walls, as if rehearsing its own aroma, a
    raisin’ed crust swells in desire, waiting
    to be sliced open, resolute in its casket.

    outside, houses squat solemnly in rows
    floors rising into unfamiliar skies, doors
    hiding coldness behind stubborn stones.
    looking out of my window, the river still
    passes beneath the bridge, hugging itself

    in consolation around bends.
    here, blades of grass. ripple
    against gnawed shores. sharp.
    a pregnant dog births in spurts.
    the hibiscus is a distracted monk.
    a wailing breeze hustles, two geese
    float into languid waters.
    bubble eyed fish are motionless.
    washing their unformed tears.
    somewhere else the dead suckle.
    at hope.
    bodies are methodically stacked.
    in bulging boxes.
    clenched teeth, grinning inside.
    soundless jaws.
    skulls crumbling like cookies.
    decomposing crematoriums.
    neither here nor there.
    grief in-between
    living and dead
    sputters, when touched.

    When Kashiana is not writing, she lives to embody her TEDx talk theme of Work as Worship into her every day. Her chapbook Crushed Anthills by Yavanika Press is a journey through 10 cities. Her second full-length collection, Woman by the Door was released in 2022 with Apprentice House Press.

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