‘I give you my absence’: Six poems by Priyanka Kapoor

A  Song For One More Sleep

There was a whistling
right after the morning fell off its egg shelf
and broke in the tundra of
life-leaking toothbrush basin,
like some rabid dog
tearing nail for tooth

My hands with some old mosquito blood
caught a hold of this insect
and placed it upon the bicycle of
a man selling sofa and cushion covers;
as a result,
it dilapidated
it coughed–
ousting the vigour of the southern spring
and other marooned extravagances like
political declarations, love-promises,

In a small monotone
my morning paddles with this man,
dragged into the sullen of the afternoon,
laid with the song of a distant Koel bird,
It is now
put to rest,
put to sweet-sweet sleep.



There is the circling of eagles
in the deep blue sky
and the surreal sound of flute

jigsawed in the modern landscape
and there is then,
the drilling noise
that must overpower the hum of the traffic
or the worker woman’s bangles,
clinking with the fidget of
the soul moving inside her palms.

In all these
I tell you to find yourself
the emptiness
that is pleasant in the
patience of a house plant
that stares out the window
every day
and feels the rain in
dripping shadows–
I offer you cold loneliness

for the times
I cannot offer you
the warmth
when my fingers touch the sides of your hand,
the spaces between your fingers
the moving of your neck–
the bed of your amorous speaking,
from where you will inform me of my once-again
distant absence

I give you my absence
for you to hold and believe my presence
in your palms once again.


The Farmer

And they spread across my momentary page
with their feet deep inside the wet grass
and they point their hands towards the sky—
the rays are always sunset-orange.

They stand looking over the field;
the river of blood
of their ancients
flowing under their ground,
and to it they repeat

someone must endure

someone must pay
for all the debts of this world
to be freed.


Day Job

The room,
heavy with my own scent
begins to take off its lid,
in a mechanism of breaking
the fourth wall,
of suddenly visible imprisonment.

this room where a man came in
and painted a quarter
of debt-
shaped hole that I paid
by sitting at my desk all month.


The Metaphor of the Bird

How many times have I
criticized the metaphor of the bird,
when my mother would say
how free
is she
and I’ll put my hand
upon my cold forehead,
It doesn’t ring right,
I tell her,
it is a projection into
wishful thinking.

It is unruly for you, I tell her,
to fly without airports,
immigration officers,
the office cicadas,
the old regular bloated system
to colour within the lines,
the patterned sweat it brings upon your back,
the despair of
the black and white, dust-coloured earth
that holds your feet.

I think of the rain–
often I wish to sink
in earth, in a paradox of
feeding back the fertility
with a gift of sleep,
and perhaps the satisfaction of
a life-long debt repaid
is the final flying.


On Abiding the Seasons


I remember the cold in my body
it had arrived
in the middle of a succulent August.

There was daze in the eyes of the sky,
it had blunted its own vision
and melted down the buildings off their roads.

I was in the white room
they had barred the windows
and I could not tell the knock.

There was that life-explaining roar of the wind,
may be,
they did not let me listen.


I remember the cold in my body
in the pit of my heart,
it had arrived
in the middle of a succulent August.

The August was grey
and hinted an October,
but they had opened their obedient mouths
only to inhale
flowers in December

Their colours were gay,
and not like a hermit’s hut’s kitchen;
they persisted
and those who couldn’t,

they left behind.


Currently, Priyanka is working at the writing centre of The Vedica Scholar’s Programme for Women. She is keen on writing experimental and surrealist poetry who has been published in Hakara Journal, Voice and Verse Magazine, Narrow Road, The Showbear Family Circus, and elsewhere.

Read more poetry on Bengaluru Review:

‘Each word is an angel’: Six poems by Bhaben Barua

‘It was spring and we suckled dreams’: Four poems by Linthoi Ningthoujam

‘My words don’t have a house to live in’ : Five poems by Namrata Pathak


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