Every void is an opening;
always so gentle when it

starts.

Yet there you are

thick

in its nectarine viscosity: a spaciousness
now expands wider than your being’s nest,

and your heart spirals tight
into itself, now begun to slide
into an emptiness, into soft light.

You enter this world,
wet and worried

still clutching at the fibers of existence
your hands soon relinquish an old home
suspended  in an unfamiliar vacuum
the blissful silence of your mother’s womb

Every one, of your skin’s old aches
now gone, free of a familiar surface.
Your own white and pink tenement
retains your paralyzed, quivering flesh.
Eyelids shut, how the mind breathes
slow, as you float, in someone else’s dream.

You open your eyes to get off the train,
hear the routine chatter of hissing, shuffling
feet as you return home burning, from work.
Crows encircle slow overhead, as though
you were dying, years withering
with every tomorrow.

Car noises, honks and vrooms irrigate
the shop windows where a garment waits
sans character, rests fully without you
in its empty sleeves, it calls you out:
your lover might not come home today.

He warned you of it the previous
night, and you’d let him walk his own way.

*

You light a cigarette as your eyes search
for a friendly kiosque. A man sits behind the counter

smothered among flapping stray tongues of newsprint
and quick, feisty winds. Old as the trees that scent the paper.

Shrouded in a fort of ink and magnets,
postcards and keychains—
he meets your glance,
as though he were yours, waiting
for you to bring him groceries,
anticipating being carried home.

You don’t know him, he looks
as though he has half a life—

He could be your stillborn brother;
in him you see  the pain of lovers trying

still to punish you with their silence,
over political differences and then some

with their insincere friendship.

In his assessing eyes, your dead father lurks,
their wrinkles drawn on by an ex boyfriend
(who painted, sometimes painted you, to make
you quieter, he couldn’t take your sparring;
and one day he tore up the canvas
when he began to hate you).

Wrinkles extend speechless, infinitely beyond
the range of a voix céleste from one Hausmannian window
lone, nearby, spelling constellations
that don’t exist. The man at the kiosque

says many things without a glance,
so still, piquant in his pallid frame.

you find some remnant of a hateful minister
whose words you were very unhappy with.

You’d like, one day, to turn around, get off the bus
and walk your feet home—it would be nice

encountering a newsstand where the guy selling newspapers
is just a guy selling newspapers,
short of leaving your soul in tatters

You don’t have to meet his gaze
when you light a cigarette,
and acknowledge the fear that
this might not be your life.

 

Medha Singh

Medha Singh

Medha Singh is a poet from New Delhi. Her first collection of poems Ecdysis (2017) has been published by Poetrywala, Mumbai. Her poems have previously appeared in Nether, Muse India, Beyond Borders, The Bombay Literary Magazine, The Journal of the Poetry Society, and several others. She has bylines in The Hindu, Mtv (indies), Bordermovement, Rock Street Journal and Rolling Stone Magazine, where she wrote on music. She received her degree in MA, English Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University. In 2015, she was part of an exchange program as part of her master’s degree, at Sciences Po, Paris where she read International Relations. She is currently working on her second book of poems and a short text on travel fiction. Her poems are forthcoming in the Sahitya Akademi and Red Hen anthologies of Contemporary Indian Writing. Her interests range widely, between philosophy, photography, cinema, music and painting, owed largely to filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. She is Editor-at-Large at Coldnoon.

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