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Poetry

Come to the Summer of my Arms & Bristle Stories

By Nalini Priyadarshni

Come to the Summer of my Arms

Come to the summer of my arms

the winter of our discontent has lasted too long

peppering our wisdom with salt and snow

settling into nook and crannies of our being

shadows of the moon on your forehead

has lengthened to reach our eyes

that have been growing dim

with each revolution of earth.

Come to the summer of my arms

we have harvested too long the silence

sown with the best of intentions

that has been whittling us beyond recognition

think of the moles and the birth marks that

need to be salvaged before we forget they exist

or keys that must be forged to unlock life

read books we discarded as unreadable

Come to the summer of my arms

for one of us cannot thaw without the other

winter of our discontent

inch by inch recovering the expanse of unexpressed

so that intimacy could be tilled into rows and rows

of languid kisses strewn with endless possibilities

perhaps then, someday we will

live our way into the passion we always sought

Bristle Stories

They arrive uninvited

like guests during summer siesta

and find strength in numbers

Stubborn as teens in combat boots

looking for trouble at street corner

my chin hair refuse to die

or remain dormant

They recoil every time I wax

Let me celebrate victory after a laser

Disappear for maybe a couple days,

but always return snapping gum vivaciously

 to sun themselves unabashed

bold and burping on a cloudless terrace

On weekdays, they foil with vengeance

 my all attempts at prettiness

refuse to apologise

throw tantrums, stomp and yell

spitting at the feet of men smiling at me

Feeling right at home, my bristles stretch themselves

claiming more space with each day

play cards, exchange stories and smoke cigarettes

Greedy

unapologetic

bordering on contemptuous

they reassure the woman in me

that they are paragons of

proud and vicious feminism

The woman inside me wonders

if greying calls for a truce

to make peace with my rebellious mongrels

Nalini Priyadarshni is a feminist poet, writer, translator, and educationist though not necessarily in that order who has authored Doppelganger in My House and co-authored Lines Across Oceans with late D. Russel Micnhimer. Her poetry, prose and photographs have appeared in numerous literary journals, podcasts and international anthologies including The Lie of the Land published by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi. A nominee for the Best of The Net 2017 she lives in Punjab, India and moonlights as a linguistic consultant.

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