At Rajiv Chowk Metro Station

That brief blob—a rupture in text
Seen after a hundred and fifty years;
A disk of brown light
rippled by dust and chatter—

That brief dot on the mirror of time,
Was it your face or mine?


Khas Pidgin

I lost home, ate cold nights with day jobs. Those schizophrenic calls to Google have stopped. One couldn’t see, listened. Two whimpered, hurt.
I hurt-heal, hold breath and hug hallucination.
Train to Mumbai and pain—that Chinese elementary
book putting every part of me to shame. What good that shameless became? Forget laptops. It’s the stink from my lap, my armpits, my animal chest that makes me human.
There is a desire to write and that is you singing in my soul—swinging, dancing, saving the world from the damages devil’s discourse.
I can eat alone. I do not miss my toast. No, I don’t.
The duck of my desire is dead.

A bookshelf belongs to baula. Name on the cover: Bulla. Bulleh Shah. Baulaha.

Who is this Bulla Shah? I know not.

There are no water holes for feral pigeons, holy cairns, prayer flags, thick smoke of vermillion and incense.

The winter is coming to an end. I catch a miniature specimen of a Benjamin Franklin, loosing the grasp
of my pen.


Foreign Tongue

I don’t use voice search.
I have an accent—
the secrets of lost worlds
buried in my thick,
embarrassed tongue.
Where should I go?
Fuzzy string suggestions
appear on the screen
of my phone.

Google is a black hole.
The more there is,
the little we know.
Where should I go?

My phone vibrates—

The gold-scaled dragons
have their origins in
the fishes that swim upstream
to the Beginning of Water.


This work was first published as part of the Sage ~ December 2017 Issue, of the Coldnoon journal.



Salik Shah

Salik Shah

Salik Shah is the founding editor of Mithila Review, a quarterly journal of international speculative fiction and poetry, established in late 2015. His works have appeared in American science fiction publications including Asimov’s Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, New Myths, Star*Line, Eye to the Telescope, also Vayavya, Juggernaut, La.Lit and Himal Southasian in India and Nepal. He grew up in Kathmandu and lives in New Delhi.