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Untitled 1

only nine fingers

               having lost one to an unscheduled bullet

how may I count the names that most would label countless? 

the minute hands of the clock went missing because they weren’t put to any use 

who will collect instructions hurriedly buried under the shadow of the Chinars? 

clouds wearing khaki                     like drones

                              keeping watch 

the little girl tugging at her brother’s arm

                    ‘I want to play hopscotch’

if only there was a piece of white chalk

Untitled 2 

at the outer edge of the eye 

               there sits an angel           nonchalant 

                                        chewing gum 

‘they do not exist, do they?’ you ask                     rubbing

                         your inflamed eye 

‘except on tombstones’ you add 


                         a tiny crescent of an eyelash 

the dead of the land dig their own graves

Untitled 3

you bury your head in sand eyes shut tight 

[the confused midwife struggles to cut the cord] 

this is not a dream it merely wishes to appear like one 

[what does it mean to give birth to a ripple upon the water?] 

the eye hesitates before it allows itself a tear

[‘not mine’ you spit to no one in particular]

even as you wipe the blood from your cheek

[your slapping a wasted effort the child refuses to cry] 

a crumpled night grieving for the stillborn?

Naveen Kishore is a publisher, photographer, lighting designer. He established Seagull Books in 1982. Kishore has published two collections of poetry and is the recipient of the Goethe Medal, a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and was awarded the 2021 Ottaway Award for the Promotion of International Literature.

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