Aditya Shankar – Two Poems

WORK FROM HOME

On days like these, the pigeon descending on
your window is a messenger with the voice of
what you lost – trying to reach you, to tell you
how the Ghat* sky did not bother when you were
gone. The animals you waited for, never returned
to smell your footprints, to follow them.

No matter how many people accompany, the
return to your study is a lonely one where your
legs grow into a dormant kingdom sending out
distress signals, never mind if the reply is from
an enemy, it’s still a feeler. Your eye, a defunct
rewind button unable to play a moment of choice.

You search for the dead, the lost love, the things
of the earth in your messenger. Then, the pigeon
is a bottle of perfume, human scent as you
remember it across centuries.

Note:
* — The Western Ghats Hill Ranges, India.

TO THE CRANE, FLYING PAST MY CAR

Thanks for flying past, and not
blessing my car with droppings.

Thanks for being a low-cost,
eco-friendly locomotive for
the Tick, Coccidian, Aspergillus.
I’m sure parasites love a free flight as well.

For looking clean,
despite contributing to the
ever increasing illness of the world.

For all the modeling work:
posing for great painters,
at the rich man’s lily pond, and
for the poor at the paddy fields.

For teaching
the village kids how to fish,
the saints how to pray, and
the depressed how to migrate.

For feeding on wild fruit and tiny fish,
for tasting dew and landing on lonely grasslands,
for chasing the crickets and beetles around, as if superstars.

Thanks for making the minute beings feel precious.

For being prey to the raccoons, bears, and fox, to prove none is invincible.

For being the brand name of everything starting from stationary shops to beer sellers.

For filling up sad stalls in our zoos,
for bearing with humans, like all animals do.

For teaching us to pray silently,
and to look at flapping wings.

Thanks for showing us the shape of poems,
if they had wings.

Aditya Shankar is an Indian English poet, translator, editor, and short-film maker. His poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in the Indian Literature, Modern Poetry in Translation, The Little Magazine, The After Happy Hour Review, Muse & Murmur, Chandrabhaga, SAARC Anthology (Songs from the Sea Shore), and elsewhere. His books include After Seeing (2006), Party Poopers (2014), Tiny Judges Shall Arrive (Translation, Forthcoming). He lives in Bangalore, India.

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