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Soibam Haripriya

Homeland: Three Poems

soipam hariprabha kanchan chanderKanchan Chander, “Running Figure”, 2008. Stainless steel, each 3’3” x 5’9”


is reluctantly
walking into a nightmare,
plunging into the precision
of a razor.

is the anatomy
of the familiar room,
blinded by power-cuts,
still revealing to me
its musty secrets.

is shaping my day
around these hours of dark.

What good is a moth here?
The town plunges to darkness at 10:00 p.m.
Fireflies as if mocking – switch off, switch on.

No one walks
the dark irregular pavement.

Women carry a dark hollowed-out cavity
in place of a heart,
A hollowed-out heart-shaped cavity
to accommodate disappeared husbands and sons.
Newspapers make regular announcements
for all those who want
a brand new anatomy.

The Curse of Sight

a primordial act
old as the heart’s history.
Yet long taught so
we weep within,
Swallowing it down
as if an uncalled-for insult.
God in his prescience
crafted it so:
a logic to our bodies
that the organ of seeing
is that of weeping too.
The futility of the world
built into
the logic of our bodies.

From here on, infer
the curse of sight.

A Death of my Own

Of all the things
I wish to own,
I wish my death
To be my own.

A quiet dignity
of privacy,
Not a grainy picture
in a newspaper,
Not a being
ripped from a warm cocoon,
Not a mere body
trespassed in life,
trespassed beyond life.

I don’t wish for the raging flames
to engulf me into ashes,
I wish
a piece of earth
to provide me solace
in its honeyed chest,
to undo the poison
This life has fed.

For a flower of red
to bloom
from my navel
and a drop of dew
to adorn its petals,

For the wind to play
among my branches
and carry in its trail
tales of my brimming passion,

For a lover to pluck my flowers
and embellish the beloved
with my petals,
with my scent,
With this
You will infuse
my death
with life again.

“A Death of My Own” was included in the anthology Tattooed with Taboos, Partridge, 2014.