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Durga Climbs Into the Moon

Pandora's Diaries

(in a city that screams)

bed-sheets rumpled and skin on tender fire,

heart hurtling


from the wooden window frames

that rustle with music of heartbreak,

from the mosque behind the trees,

the television rumbling with terror,

the language steeped in serrated earth—

fertile, ragged, microcosm of life/


the train in the celestial ceiling, puffing white

clouds of longing, waiting on her

brown skin—

brown skin that will wash off to a red gouache,

and, as the light shifts, will become a lilac sea

glistening like a night sky at war.

(in a still that pains)

dark girl is running through the mustard field,

knowing her ocean deep call will become a smoke signal

when the cold comes /

the city lights float to these edges, laden with holy music—

love letters to gods in the same tongue

in which she can only read silence/

in the still of her kitchen, her shipwrecked vessel

knew of the unrelenting gravity sunk into its bones

when it devoured the olden light of the big things in the sky/

leaves under the peepal tree/leaves her people somewhere

between the dirt and her knees/the crop is dried/

oh god, what a time to burn.

(a barrel, a tunnel, a heart)

being easy is so unbelievably spiritual,

and there aren’t enough hymns about it;

sing – guttural, choral, devout—

for her— the epicentre of everything

that writhes to lick the sky clean/the blood


hymns about a red she has become

and how the trees move for her

when the wind dies down and there’s

no sun to turn to,

hymns about staying alive.

By Anushka Roy



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