Clay Flower and Sky Animals

Mongoose spitting out jewels under foot of Ganapati from the image, Dancing Red Ganapati. Public Domain

A red poem, pleated as a fictile rose sits between us in a wooden vase. It is neither mine nor yours. Night takes rounds around it, examines its shape and nods in dismay. An incomplete work. Not ready for the celestial animals yet. We, oblivious humans see through this piece of decoration, ignore the subtle seemingly synthetic smell added by its maker. The poets in us are aroused~we order them to stay within the limits of our human eyes. A mud petal of this rose falls on the table — sordid melodies of the broken sun — that’s the line printed on it. Both of us read the words aloud. Our lips finally open — night enters our mouths and sordid melodies of a broken sun falls on our dry tongues like a drop of water from the final rain.

Are those tears on our cheeks?
Our wet palms, do they now speak?
Will the sky animals land?
Was there ever a sun not fractured by music?
Will you dance with the six flies?
Will night ever escape our lungs?

Goodbye. There is no poem left here. Goodbye. Our flower is a petal less.


You ask me to stay. Slowly scribing poetry on my dress. You dig out the swallowed night from the dips of my body. You find a fragment of sun lying unprotected between my ribs. We extricate the night from the burden of poetry. Together, the three of us unfold the rose ~ add its fallen petal back and read —

~ sordid melodies of the broken sun~
bare broken limbs, floating in the sea
a slow dance away breaths a lover, unhinged

~merging coal-crystals deposit in the deep~
rose gardens and aeolian gardeners sway in euphony
diamonds form and break, seasons merge into heaves

~how I am clay, how the beasts are made of stars ~
I am scribbled and creased, my routes engraved in words
you shall put my limbs together, the sun shall become whole

That was all that was written on the petals. Night asserted how these words weren’t enough. I can’t give you anymore Vaishali, this is all, I say. This is all. Your desirous parched eyes don’t stop. They absorb your scribbled poetry off my gown and continue —

~ sordid melodies of the broken sun~
don’t stop where the ocean does. They flow
past appendages, what is body and what are words

~ sordid melodies of the broken sun~
fill gold water in earth’s wounds. They flow
past celestial animals, what is sky and what is dust

~ sordid melodies of the broken sun~
spit jewels under the feet of God. They flow
past red abysses, what is night and what is love

Now, is it complete? — you ask. The night dissolves in itself. Animal constellations land on our table, the rose spreads as generous red silk. The two of us consume all the poetry we could ever eat. Words fall off our eyes as though we were portals — for poetic river branches — to leave our own red chasms~

For Vaishali Paliwal.

(responding to her request for a blind date with poetry)

Drifter; Poet. ‘The Saree Shop’ is my debut poetry collection.

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