An indefinite pause cast out of an irresolvable riddle
nestles inside this fist. This effort to rhyme
through daffodil-bruised lips is a saga
of the aftermath thrown overboard from the deck.
This language is a slave-ship on my tongue:
a memorized meter.
What do you miss when you touch
the city’s smoulders only through the incessant
ticking of its clockhands? A cricket
on the arm-wrest of the porch-chair,
the delicate warmth of the coffee-mug
in between my palms, the well-manicured
backyards of a neighborhood
where the only sounds are that of twittering
doves, chirping sparrows: we are strangers
here. Last night’s winds
the flower-pot on the open porch. You picked
it up, only to let it slip
through your fingers. A vain effort
to wake a hamlet
of its object myths. In between
the wrinkles of your neck, is a robin-egg
city, that refuses to spill over
even at the din
of its own breaking bones.
What do you forget when you touch
the city’s ashes only through the incessant
whirling of its car wheels?
This language is an indigo-planter’s whip
on my tongue, a schoolmaster’s baton
on my bare skin:
a text-book meter.
Nandini Dhar is the author of the book Historians of Redundant Moments (Agape Editions, 2017). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Memorious, New South, Best New Poets 2016 and elsewhere. Nandini hails from Kolkata, India, and divides her time between her hometown and Miami, Florida, where she works as an Assistant Professor of English at Florida International University.