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Poetry

Still Breathing

Barnali Ray Shukla 
Still breathing

Her home wears nothing but a silence 
that waits--where noir feels warm like
a quilt of breaths, as it begins to reel in 

a tequila sunset, unsure of the strange 
fingerprints in her voice, ‘admit two’
she hears, last breaths of life, air or lyrics.  

The newborn gurgles in the next room, and 
her mother in another, they are there for her,
a little distant, and she… grateful for a death 

so beautiful that comes on time, as promised.
Untouched by loved ones behind masks, not 
the one they were born with, the one they need 

                                             to keep her  

                                                                         away.

By Barnali Ray Shukla

Still Breathing

Her home wears nothing but a silence 
that waits--where noir feels warm like
a quilt of breaths, as it begins to reel in 

a tequila sunset, unsure of the strange 
fingerprints in her voice, ‘admit two’
she hears, last breaths of life, air or lyrics.  

The newborn gurgles in the next room, and 
her mother in another, they are there for her,
a little distant, and she… grateful for a death 

so beautiful that comes on time, as promised.
Untouched by loved ones behind masks, not 
the one they were born with, the one they need 

                                             to keep her  

                                                                         away.

Barnali Ray Shukla is a writer, filmmaker & poet. Her writing has featured in Sunflower Collective, OutOfPrint, Kitaab.org, OUTCAST, Indian Ruminations, Vayavya, Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry II, indianculturalforum.in, Madras Courier, Bengaluru Review, Voice& Verse (HK) UCityReview (USA) and A Portrait in Blues (UK). She has a feature film to her credit as writer director, 2 documentaries, 2 short films & a book of poems, Apostrophe. Her short fiction & non fiction feature in print anthologies by Amaryllis, Speaking Tiger Books. She is shooting her third documentary & scripting a movie.She lives in Mumbai with her plants, books & a husband.

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