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Poetry

Two Poems by Ranu Uniyal

GRIEF DOES NOT DIE  

it melts 
it runs 
it smells
and then 
it dissolves

grief
I am sorry to say 
is beyond shelf life 
it outlives us all.   

Please don’t be surprised 
if you see it smirking  
through your years  
pitching in moments of 
relentless tapping 
of bristling laughter 
unguarded affection 
and invincible ties.   

Grief asks you not to surrender.  
“I am here to stay,” it taps on your chest 
and keeps you agog at night.  

Grief walks in at odd times 
when you are just settling in 
it steps inside and howls 
like a cyclone Tauktae
bound by seasons of melancholy
it rips you open and as you 
chug along with crushed smiles 
for all to see and you to bear 
eyes, ears, lips, breasts 
the falling of tears 
and the stepping aside 
of strangers in a bus or 
the train compartment, at the 
shopping mall, roadside paan thela*, 
inside the classroom, in the middle of 
everywhere it stalks you, 
unattended, forlorn.   


*A cart selling betel leaves

HARD TO FIND   


I am good
Amma holds her heart 
inside her fist.   

It is a cold Sankranti* for her 
and my only son 
struggling with dysgraphia rattles 
the mobile number of his father.   

A lullaby whines and I see her  
riding in the submissive dark 
with eyes flipping at unknown bridges.   

There is water everywhere 
The sky is full of treasure  
and the earth has returned all her dues.  
To wind she had her smiles to offer,  

wings, furs, tapioca, coconut shells 
syllables, ragas, laughter, and stray wounds 
there is enough to last a lifetime, 

Till date nobody knows where she has stored that gift of fire.  

*Sankranti is a harvest festival

Ranu Uniyal is Professor of English at University of Lucknow.  She is a bi-lingual poet and Chief editor of Rhetorica, a literary journal of Arts. She has published four poetry collections:  Across the Divide (2006), December Poems (2012), The Day We Went Strawberry Picking in Scarborough(2018) and Hindi Poems Saeeda Ke Ghar (2021) and has read her poems at international literature festivals and conferences. She was on a Writer’s Residency in 2019 at Uzbekistan.  She can be reached at ranuuniyalpant@gmail.com.  Website: ranuuniyal.com

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