A Woman Without a Country

A woman without a country
What happens to you?

Do you ever tire?
Of windowshopping continents
Navigating oceans on flight
Smiling at strangers
Nodding at foreign tongues

Barefoot you walk
While others mumble
‘When will she find the right shoe?’

Barefoot you walk
And they know not
Barefoot you choose


A Stone in My Shoe

There’s a stone in my shoe
Oh, what should I do?
If I stop, I will be left behind
So I go on
Shaking my leg clumsily
To get rid of it
while walking still
It slows me down
She looks back and smiles
But I don’t smile back
I have a stone in my shoe
And I don’t stop
For I will be left behind.


Traffic Lights

Poison darts
Are shot across
They whizz past my ear

I stand immobilised
Miraculously alive
But ‘fixed’ with fear

In Chinatown
Up there
Pigeons and parapets
Down here
Onion-tomato droppings
From a passer-by’s sandwich
Pictures of food
On the walls
And pink and purple pompoms
Damning us
To an eternal carnival


Two Women on the Porch

Two women sat on the porch
They watched the world change
They frowned
papered out into layers
and finally grew too old
They must have had their separate lives too
but the only way I knew
them was as
two women that sat on the porch


Shiba Desor

Shiba Desor is a member of Kalpavriksh, an environmental group based in Pune. She is also a member of a small women’s collective called Maati, based in Munsiari, Uttarakhand. She is part environmental researcher, part organiser of gatherings, part food-writer. She has co-authored a children’s book on food called Something To Chew On.