Cartography of a Time : 5 Poems – By Kalyani Bindu

Pic by Anni Roenkae



Our mute dog thinner than a shadow

Our mute dog thinner than a shadow,
veils with defeated sadness
our last transactions in tenderness,
embarking like a ghost to uncharted terrains,
(my landscape of your fugitive presences
in a no man’s land),
our primal anonymity, our walks in two lives,
our dogs crossing shredded shadows,
now sun-stretched, retired like folded moths.


They suspect I am in love

The mount is no supple supply of milk,
the red and the brown and the milk
that incessantly drips, wean off
like some dripping of a walk
that dreams of an incarceration,
dripping incrementally into infinity.
The real weans off.
Crows lose line of sight.
Cats sleepwalk into moving cars.
Moths flap their wings twice
and symbolically die.
Incrementally, the real becomes unsteady.
And easier to let go.

They suspect I am in love.


The middle is where we meet

Give us a burnt wire to crack strong typhoons,
when we conjure metaphors for our souls over tea.
Melting plastic and denying truce,
shapeshifting as the winds pass by,
into an open wound with a pulpy protrusion.

Today, we shape one another in dreams,
from the nether world.
They tread a real sweet spot.
That line we never cross.

The middle is where we meet.


The rut

Shoulders swerving under weight
the clouds need not ask and lips
curving that Kafkaesque rut of a curve,

curving and curving and curving that

which can be curved into distant
watchtowers in eyes that see
what can be seen, but need not be sung,
that day when waiting in heat
became a crimson task

a crime so fragrant in its omens – the cats yowled

on mossy beds. Now, the white sheen in nooks
and crannies of the clothes past may not dance
to tune under the sun but wait for rains
to dampen slight memories in transit
through dreams, sly slivers of good reckonings
(memories in gutter with diamond eyes).

The rut of love, loving and loving and loving.

Unfounded memories curve into a dirtball.
No tail left to follow.
No revolting word to follow the sway of the mountains.

It is the white all over again. Just white.

No mounds, no cuts, no corners (a sick plateau).

Like an after-taste of bitter spit,
a distaste creeping from behind,
in an impending embrace, then,
an impending silence – colourless.
No mounds, no cuts, no corners.


Light on this desk

Morning fractures in crooked corners of breeze,
faces float on sticks like cyborg masks.
The day is a dry sterile sandwich.
No one sees a thing turning in its grave.
The black dog is the sentinel under the peepal tree.
This wait under the sun is longer than a shadow.
I no longer see its human-impostor eyes,

conduits to you, the one with black beady eyes.

It is, and was always, a dog.
My body hair does not fetch human-rumble.
It does, what it does, like body hair.
This wait is longer than a snarl.
It is what it is, a thing with a name,

a conduit to you remaining uncensored
in tenderness, remnants of an ancient light found,
but limp like the shadows of a distant tree.

Not even your shadow sheds a leaf,
a sign to moor a boat, pitch a sorry tent.

I do not speak of them,
the shadows waiting to be unmoored,
scattered without a song (a burden to live by).
I let them rest with some tea,
and some light on this desk.


About the Author


Kalyani Bindu is an Indian writer and researcher, and author of Two Moviegoers. Her poems and essays have appeared in Better than Starbucks, Ethos Literary Journal, New Asian Writing, Variant Literature Journal, Madras Courier, Muse India, Modern Literature, the Indian Express, and others.