two poems

by Sneha Subramanian Kanta

Mumbai

“Unlike twilight, I do not
conclude with darkness. I conclude.”
— Jennifer Chang

I’ve eaten moths around your hems
& swallowed daily obituaries
in the dailies like gin        & vodka.

You leave a                 resplendence
on the surface of     Marine Drive
but I see fireflies breathe their last there.

Let me be your silent grief    your acid rain
your unseen spring      your hungry mouth
the Arabian sea &        its        restless tides.

On some nights I yearn          for you, say—
O changed lover         O filthy occupant
I want to leave kisses for you before sunrise.

You have   killed many   been killed by many
a steadfast pyre that burns before it was built
now lays hopelessly       in search of oblivion.

I’ll clear the soot of exile          in my throat
without expectation that      your naked back
will face those lost   on your numberless streets.

I’ll run the way nostalgia is elusive     to those
that seek        I’ll not wait anymore for you to tap
my shoulder blades     to be the way you were.

I’ll remember you       only in symbols & images—
old, colonial hand-me-downs, neon hoardings
& thick, colorful glasses shattered by merciless guns.

 

November Night as Meadow and Hawk
for mum

(i)

My mother’s body / static as winter wool
mimetic red rose / unmoored bloodless

Departed on a failed bed / sans elixir sans breath
no song for aubade / upon her purple fermented lips

What sky was that / a stuffed animal / a hierophant
the earth / undid several orchids / released birds

My mother’s body / a trapped Mourning Cloak butterfly
“She has no pulse” / the doctor’s first and last words

The ambulance screeched / punctuated all silent streets
home was the distance / between pulse and vertebrate

The stars burned like death / a whisker
then ceased to be / disappeared far, far away.

 

(ii)

Northern hawks moved southward / for wintertime
I saw a string of opaque brown / across the sky

I was intangible / with exit wounds not my own
a long winter of hibernation / with six lives left1

Which one would she choose / to be bird instead of human
gilded sky / fall’s gold dust descended / as feathers of a hawk.

 

1 According to Hindu Mythology, there are seven births granted to human life, a standard notation in the scriptures.

Sneha Subramanian Kanta is a recipient of the Charles Wallace fellowship 2019 at the University of Stirling. A GREAT scholarship awardee, she has earned a second postgraduate degree in literature from England. Her work has appeared in Quiddity, FLAPPERHOUSE, Hypertrophic Literary, and elsewhere. She is the founding editor of Parentheses Journal and poetry reader for Palette Poetry and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. Her chapbook titled Land: Body / Ocean: Muscle is forthcoming with dancing girl press in 2019.
Artwork by: Faizan Adil

 

Faizan Adil is a Lahore-based Pakistani documentary and conceptual photographer. In 2015, He completed his BA (Hons) In Mass Communication from Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. His undergraduate degree thesis was ‘The role of photography and photojournalism in Pakistan. He has been working as a freelance photographer since 2013.

Links
Website: www.FaizanAdil.com
Instagram: @Faizan_Adil