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Poetry

Two Poems

By Anuradha Vijayakrishnan

JASMINUM

I wake in the deep of moonlit nights
welcomed by pale fleeting moths, glossy thickets 
of whispering leaves, hushed birds. I am greeted
with joy by the woman who lives in the endless 
garden, who does not sleep, whose voice
is silence. My heart wells with my fragrance –
young snakes coil at my feet, shy kiss of dew 
pool over my new petals, spreading tenderly
inside my veins. I bloom, I am 
proud.

The woman who visits – she has heaven
coloured eyes and a nose ring like stars.
She drifts on a low cloud, laughing, breathing
my scent, sighing, never touching.
Sometimes I too rise on the coil of such 
a dream, wings of silver owls, startled feathers 
of sleep-woken parrots. Sometimes I gaze down 
with love at the world filled with such sacred
darkness, seasons of hope, radiant pain, crimson lashings 
of anger, toss and turn of uneasy desire.  

This night is my whole life, these 
are the only words I will speak.

LAST RITES FOR GRANDMOTHER

Her eyes were closed with cotton.  Forehead smoothened, feet brushed with oil and holy 
offerings.  We cradled her one more time in our arms and gave her to fire, 
then water, then earth, then sky and waiting birds. There was rain, 
an earth storm wailed for seven nights. She went like Seeta 
leaving no trails. She went alone without 
looking back.

Her children sprouted from soil: green shoots, shiny brown skin, curly hair 
flying in the wind. 
Her children sweep from day-bright clouds: blue feathered grey throated 
birdlings squawking from palm fronds 
taking off into light.

Her children rise as tall sea-waves 
to reclaim our land. 
They slither down mountains
to swallow us whole. They creep through
our homes as dreams -- 

We light a lamp, the only language we have. 


Anuradha Vijayakrishnan
 is an Indian writer living in UAE. Her work has appeared in Kenyon Review, Magma, Everyday Poets, CVV2 and The Madras Courier, and was recently featured in the Yearbook of Indian poetry in English (2020).

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