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Two Poems

Susmit Panda

Black Christ

Based on a cashier’s escapade: of questioning a girl for choosing to buy a black doll since it ‘didn’t look like her’.


This time the magi hardly delayed;
they swarmed in with
their glamour and their gifts!

This time an angel,
wearing the bona fide badge of Heaven,
inaugurated my advent!

This time a star…!

This time a white pigeon…!

For black should not be
the colour of a god: I was
a god then; I am
a god now – this time,
BLANutterly spared!

I sit beside
a heap of hay, stroking a lamb;
I pore over the white
interface of my hands, my arms,
white, bright, Hepburn,
sui generis, while a snapshot or two
flashes across my eyes…

Apart from my burnt skin
that reeked of melanin, the
burnt atmosphere of the cell spilling
with spiders, patches of piss,
vaginal slush…

brought me nothing; the only things
that shone against the backdrop
of black were a tyrant’s sword
and a bat’s peepers!

What followed,
a gruesome itinerary: each
brief flash of lightning
the awful atlas of my integument;
each pellet of rain fell on me
like a gob of spit; overhead
a mob of hoods, wiggling, giggling…
Their eyes meant malice;
their jaws,
coruscating with supernovas of white,
dribbled strands of spit,

For black should not be
the colour of a god: I was
a god then; I am
a god now – this time,
BLANutterly spared!

Sayed Haider Raza, ‘La colline’ [The hill], acrylic on canvas, 35 x 24 cm, 1971


Based on a recent report of a farmer from Tamil Nadu demanding immediate drought-relief funds from the federal government. He protested by holding a white mouse in his mouth.



Faces smoke up
from the face of fissures;
hard the earth,
hard the air,
hard the pellets of breath…
In a corner
a small white mouse wearing
velvet grass…


Wasn’t I born for a genius?
Wasn’t I born for a star
to be hung aloft like a sleepless Eremite?
Wasn’t I born to
cerebrate on the peak of a petri dish?
Wasn’t I born to squeak along
a troop of test-tubes?
Wasn’t I born to swim in strains
for findings of a fillenium?
Wasn’t I born to
mull over
the clatter of genes, the matter of genomes,
the patter of chromosomes?
Wasn’t I born to
gnaw on the saccharine edge of
Wasn’t I born for a mensch?
To nibble nosh from his hands?
To punch holes across his apron
sullied with chemicals?



Why do you grouse?
Hunger ain’t a big thing!

Hunger is a small white mouse
cupped in quietus
on the lips of a simpleton pitched
like a lanky Yggdrasil
outside a shack full of


Why should the Soul
perish due to so paltry a thing
as this?

But since it somehow has

the Body,
raised on the funds
of another grit,
has plucked the Soul,
a small white mouse,
like a dollop of dead snow,
that is it!



Susmit Panda was born in 1996. He began composing poetry at the age of fifteen. Since then he’s been trotting out poems recklessly and his first book, titled 50 Arteries, was published in 2016.