"We might still be alive when it worsens": Three poems by Suhit Kelkar that you'll read again and again

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"We might still be alive when it worsens": Three poems by Suhit Kelkar that you'll read again and again

Poetry by Suhit Kelkar

Off-season shower

A random spell of rain hoodwinked the season.
Our flat’s lit with the glow of the looming future.
The light doesn't please mother sprawled on the couch,
scowling at the wall and telling off the weather:
“Are we in England?” The wall only looks blank.
The changing climate hangs its head looks up
from beneath a shaggy brow lopes off
to curl up in a corner. We haven't spoken about it.
Soon, we'll have to. We might still be alive when it worsens.


Death of a river

Since before time was time
the river had roared.
Today it died with a whisper
that cawing beaks dispersed
in the four barren directions.

I pulled shut the unseeing eyes
lifted the limp form from my lap
set it down on the cracked ground.
I waited; no mourners came.
So I hefted the river on my shoulders.

Its form
is becoming lighter with each step.
I grow fearful it will disappear
orphaning me from its sacred self
that gives me the purpose

to find its final resting place
in the blackening sea that lies
beyond the horizon. I'd readily cremate
the deceased but can't find
another river to take its ashes.


Exodus of climate refugees

On parched land where zeroes grow
you'll sow a handful of hollow laughter
and reap from the rumour of a river
the rainbow-finned fish called equanimity.

You'll square your bony shoulders
against the dread silence of the barren plain
and gnash your teeth against the dull ache
in your legs, but trudge on again

as our ancestors for whom the horizon
was a boundless itch out of Africa;
although their desert was partly ice
and ours will mostly be soil.


Suhit Kelkar’s poetry has appeared in several Indian and international journals, including Poetry at Sangam (India), Vayavya (India), The Sunflower Collective (India), The Indian Quarterly, Domus India, The Bombay Literary Magazine (India), The Charles River Journal (USA), and Speak (USA), among others. His debut book is a poetry chapbook named The Centaur Chronicles, which uses the figure of a centaur to explore themes of exclusion, discrimination, and otherness.

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