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Three poems by Vinita Agrawal

Three poems by Vinita Agarwal


Rivers rounding stones, your memory barbing my eyes, the last moment

at the hospital clinging to air beaded with monsoon rain at the windows,

your breath like prints fading the mist of you alive.

Sunny-side-up-years glistening on us. Togetherness is so fragile. For dinner

I eat scrambled nights, shoving them around the plate of solitude. Good you’ll never know

hunger now. At the mountain retreat last month they taught me to let go. Don’t destroy your body,

they said. I cropped my gaze to my knuckles, felt the icy wind’s rasping ire. Don’t I know how

short patience is with grief? My flight back home in a rain-drenched craft, bobbing and heaving

like months of the year, finally landing into a golden afternoon. The weight on my face

responding to light. Fleeing like everything I’d ever held. Grief, a pleasant friend,

sheepish for always knocking. Which of my bones lets it in?

I Tell the River that I Shall Pray Again

For years I’ve been trading promises with God. Offering flowers for mercies, fasts for protection, money for more wealth.

And now, it’s not as if I’ve stopped praying, but something’s muted over the years. When I fold my hands at the altar I’m thinking the flowers in the vase need to be changed, the brand of incense leaves too much ash, the silver needs polishing, the frames need dusting.

Cremating you and returning to the raven blackness of our home, I fastened the urn of ashes to a clothesline outside the house because it was bad omen to carry it inside.

Nothing epitomises waiting more than a boat on the shore or an urn of warm ashes tied to a tree or a clothesline.

The river is the end to the wait, the final quencher of thirst. Tonight I lie porous. Tomorrow the river will consume the ashes and fill me with prayers again.

The Solid Lines Of Disappearing Things

The air, the tree house that once knew love is now weak in the knees and in the time it took those moments to become page weary to turn from solid lines of tree trunks to smoke

A world fell.

Somewhere in the twilight age the shaved heads of jasmines ride the desire to bloom on wet branches of August but they have lost touch with themselves

We cannot become ourselves again.

You and Varanasi where human heads sink when alive and float when dead, where seemingly harsh, bladder-bright yellow crystals gleam, are disappearing thoughts

A male world is full of dirty jokes.

Hospitals do not care children continue to laugh off mestizos and we do not know EVER if we want to laugh or cry but Swifts come every day

Watching the middle-aged man finely tune his deck of life.


Vinita Agrawal is an award winning poet, editor and convenor of literary events. Joint Recipient of the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2018 and winner of the Gayatri GaMarsh Memorial Award for Literary Excellence, USA. Her poetry collections are – Two Full Moons, Silk of Hunger , The Longest Pleasure and Words Not Spoken

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