In the dream you lived in a house with a staircase steeped into a mountain,
so that to move betwixt the floors of your days was a pilgrim’s passage.

Because you were not my fate, I could climb the mountain with my back straight,
burdened by no weight but fragrance, willed by no less than duty or more than desire.

All that had transpired between us had transpired. The years had passed. The
monastery ridged the mountain’s spine. Time was copper, its meaning verdigris.

In your house you kept books with my name on them, and books in your own hand.
My eyes swept over them sometimes. Once, your arm on the back of a sofa, its hairs,

which I brushed with neither intent nor caution. We sighted one another in silence,
often. This had become life, dream-life: the quotidian, the sheer grey-black rock and

the alcoves of devotion in the near distance. I can embroider that world with aura:
vespers, five-metal bells, the way that flowers only fell in slow-motion, as though

all letting go was lackadaisical, all winds the winds of ease. But the fabric I re-entered
this other world touching was this: how as I ascended the steps one day, you reached up

and placed your palm against my bare calf as you stood below me. You brought my skin
to where your collar opened to the skin over your heart. Wordless tenderness woke me:

dawn was breaking open in that other life, the sky morganite over the ghats, while
here in the new moon’s darkness breath misted again across old meander scars.


Sharanya Manivannan

Sharanya Manivannan

Sharanya Manivannan’s first book, Witchcraft, was described in The Straits Times, Singapore, as “sensuous and spiritual, delicate and dangerous and as full as the moon reflected in a knife”. She was specially commissioned to write and perform a poem at the 2015 Commonwealth Day Observance at Westminster Abbey, London. Her next book of poetry, The Altar Of The Only World, and a book of stories, The High Priestess Never Marries, are both forthcoming from HarperCollins India; a children’s book, The Ammuchi Puchi, is forthcoming from Lantana Publishing, UK. She writes a personal column, The Venus Flytrap, for The New Indian Express.