Poems by Manisha Manhas

Poems by Manisha Manhas
 
 
To the midnight
 
At night,
when I am alone
and I feel low,
you sit next to me,
staring like a drunken-dusk,
drowned in glasses of red wine.
 
In your wilderness,
you cause ache in heart,
twisting curtains of desires
hung in spell of dried monsoons.
 
You smell of detergenents
soaked in sea-green sky,
some time later,
you whisper out secrets,
slow, panting heaves.
 
And I count
days,
nights,
months,
years
that I will have to spend without you.
 
I try drawing you on my yellow pages,
sketching lines with desires marking vowels with speed,
ioning them,
locking them,
erasing them.
 
Piling a brocade of haywire
connections,
I set them on fire.
 
I collect smudge from my kohled eyes and drop them in boxes of sleep.
Removing glasses,
I promise myself to never see you again.
 
 
 
***
 
In love, we were once
sesame seeds
nestling into a pan.
 
Surging fragrance
hinged to our hearts
which
we painted together.
 
Our moans,
glowworms webbed
to the music of nights.
 
Gleaming once like
the mistress of an emperor,
our life, similar to
the sound of her anklets
 
whose beads broke loose
one evening and
we became ascetic drops
pouring from an orphan sky
 
 
 
Refugee
 
when the
worm- bitten memories; decided
to consume us
We offered them a part of
our hearts.
And took a flight over a river.
 
To reach a land called
Home.
 
Steeped
in the memory of a lane-
the silence of a town.
A market of corpses,
 
we were once the
sparrows of a dawn.
That
turned owls overnight.
 
Our wails – a crematorium
looms over us,
like a cloud,
 
an eagle
fluttering wings;
Catching its prey,
To filter blood
and write
its migrained story.
________
 
Today,
we see those inks
bathing under the sun
that
shade of jujube
C u t.
The laughters of long
dead children, echo.
 
Their sleeves torn,
slates broken.
 
Taking off kites
From its canopies.
they gather marbles
and lay a charpoy.
In that aangan*.
__________
 
The courtyard of today wants
waters from those wells.
The stoves, fire.
From those heaths.
 
When those pots, earthern
Had not emptied into the night,
the embers of divide. Burning feet.
 
Moon.
That night was an aching
mother
delivering her dead. And
offering them to the vultures
for freedom.
 
Listening to this,
the storms gathered in no time
From the dust of grief.
 
That monsoon,
August was fiery as hell.
Its turbanned fate
Tied its head
With perfumed stinks.
knocking on each door.
Asking for water.
Its dried lips
and cracked feet
spilled secrets of a
a
H O M E,
a pain
that
break our bones till date.
Our life,
the thorns of destiny
stuck into heels.
As we
made entries over
Maps. Maps
To be hung over walls.
Like the paintings
Of a dead ancestor-
the strokes
Of which
We can’t bear pain, till date.
No pictures or odes,
we hear them through
a wrinkled voice.
A crumpled breath.
 
a town
Over radio- Dead.
 
Resting in peace.
A punctured fate- a nation.
Divided.
Scattering leaves.
Over its young coffins.
bazaars became
barren lamps, broke streets,
burnt shadows.
 
a town raped
A city cremated.
 
A country s l i t.
 
Punctuating time
Hitting arrows at the
hour’s glass
the
Frozen memories.
Of our infants.
Our cries
at the ghats of Ganga.-
We made a tryst
with the destiny.
A concord with the night.
 
That night when you came
to “life and freedom.”
 
We were declared dead.
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