Jul/Aug 2017 Poetry

Two Poems

by Lakshmi Arya Thathachar

Image courtesy of the British Library Photostream

Ajmer, Dargah

the smell of muskmelon
sliced wet, vapourising
in the afternoon
and a cycle-rickshaw ride
on a melting tar road
in Allahabad
thirty years ago is still
the smell of my mother.

the smell of the sun in clothes
brought in in armfuls before the night seeps through them
is the smell of home.

does the tree which is older than our childhood
still rain leaves
browned by sun
on the clothes?

one leaf found its way into my suitcase
between the folds of mufflers and gloves
and now lies
like a brown snowflake
on my marble table-top

but your smell, which i could not pack
is like the perfume of the previous occupant
of the lift.

there are still two orange knots
at the Dargah Sharief in Ajmer
On the lattice, side by side.
still untied.

It is a practice to tie orange and yellow threads, while making a wish at the Dargah Sharief in Ajmer. Those whose wishes come true go back to the Dargah and untie a knot from the many threads that flutter on the lattice.



On a Shimla dawn
pipes burst. Water boils over on fire.
Monkeys walk across the sunrise
single file. Tight rope.
Piercing slant rays
on a fence of barbed wire

I planted red cannas
to light up your path
hung wind-chimes on trees
lit lamps. Waited.

But ice froze under the door
newspapers piled up
the gods stared down
from creaking shelves

even the leaves were still.

Memory like a still-warm empty cup
that I embrace with my hands
on a Shimla dawn.


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