Three Poems

Samudra Neelima

A Manifesto of Saliva

Thirty-two white wolves
stand guard.
Their lake is in the mouth.
Their vigil sharpens
until the fangs gleam
in thirty-two directions.

The water level rises
when the lake sinks into the netherworld
and glimpses tamarind trees.

It discerns thirty-two wolves.
The water level recedes.
Doesn’t gush forth like blood
or grapple with an opponent.

Often one pictures a flood
on the dining table.
The food fest passes by.
The noise of people chewing
sketches a fast approaching
battlefront. Nothing happens, but
the lake dries up in fear.
Goes underground
beating its head.
Distaste gets caught on the fishhook.

In a revolution saliva binds
better than blood.
No colours.
No flags.
No historical burden of extraction.
No pressure no factions.
Just a long arc of spit will do.
More thrilling than the trigger.
More thundering than swearwords.

In the history of bloodstains
there are no signs of saliva.
From her begins the gene
of desire and fear
of droughts and floods
of kisses.

I belong to the tribe of saliva.

I am she who passed by, contributing
not even a stain as memory.
On the pages turned
with a spit-wet finger
naked feet of saliva
walk away unseen.

In some places
it gushes faster than blood.
Before blood can find blood
saliva finds saliva.
Then the high alertness
of sixty-four wolves
rots and dissolves
in saliva.

outdated girl withered bra wasted panty

there stands the girl she wears a bra of faded colour the white is now pale yellow disproportionately little brown spots are visible here and there caused by moisture and staleness the edges of the bra are in shreds the straps of the bra are in shreds one of the bra straps has snapped the broken strap is stitched up with a rusty safety pin the breasts of the girl are of different shapes one of her breasts is small and the other big the small left breast does not fill the left bra cup the bra cup looks crushed over the left breast it grows pointed when she takes a deep breath the right breast fills the bra cup below the bra cups runs a finger’s width of elastic band the sewing has come off at some places on the elastic the girl’s panty is the same saffron color as the indian flag inside the panty there is a sanitary napkin soaked in blood the girl has taken off the bra and the saffron-hued panty both are wet with and smell of sweat and blood the bra without the breasts appears crushed its straps are folded the inside of the bra without the breasts now looks dark there is a spread of blue behind the straps there is black dirt on the sides of the cups there is a faint shade of soft green on the left strap starting from the back and the sides of the bra the tiny plastic squares and rings which connect the bra straps to the cups are almost broken there are blood stains on the saffron-coloured panty the dried blood has a shade that is almost like the red encroaching upon the black on the narrow middle strip of the panty and especially on its edges blood has spread thick blood has spread on the wings of the sanitary napkin too the wing of the sanitary pad looks folded inside the blood is pressed thick inside the pad the reddish black slimy blood is clotted in the middle of the pad there is blood that has spread at the back of the pad too the pad has more or less detached itself from the saffron-colored panty the saffron has grown darker with the blood spreading


When the black seeds germinate
green leaves sprout
red blossoms.

I plant black seeds.
And wish for a black black tree
with black leaves
and black blossoms.

The night prunes
all the trees into my colour
for some time
and then ridicules me
by taking their blackness away at daybreak.
The shadows call out arrogantly
claiming that they are my black trees.

Only the colour I seek
is missing. 
Flowers leaves trees
in all colours except mine.
The trees keep deceiving me.

Wherever I look
the graceless green trees
of that fraudulent god
who was no artist. Not one bit.

My tree never sprouts.
The earth does not sketch it.

I am fed up
unable to translate my blackness
from the seeds
to the trees.

Damn! I no longer have any desire.
I no longer plant trees.

O my beloved black tree!
Why is there no such tree?

translated from the Malayalam by Ra Sh