Haibun – By Aditya Shankar

Pic by Ryutaro Tsukata



A Resignation Letter from Voice

Dear body, I am tired of the paid holiday in your muted throat. A new-born, you arrived whimpering, seeking clarity. You were supposed to age into the thrum of an engine: noisier and more demanding as it ages. But look at how you fade into silence as naturally as a banana fades into brown. You’re more of a shoe sole that accidentally slides out, not a tongue. A superfan of the flavoured world. A chained prisoner abandoned in a dark cave. For you to buy groceries, repay EMIs and get by, a stammer shall suffice. At best, a dash of single syllables—Yes, Ok, Left, Right and so on—for you to navigate, obey and indulge in the riches. Keep a bunch of emojis handy, to survive the social media natives. After signing up for you, I’ve removed singing, questioning, protesting, reasoning and other such upmarket skills from my resume. Relieve me from this underemployment—know you aren’t  keen on a one-on-one discussion; never been. Please text me in response. Good riddance!

The shadow that grows,
Dissolves dread into the night—
Gagged, the tree of tongues.


The Memory Stick of My Camcorder is in Plug-and-play Mode

You’re still a semi-stranger after living in my camcorder for fourteen years. Almost that aloof metro train: I know the scent of sunlight on your alloy body. I hold you close and watch you at length, but in no way you’re mine. Set to the tune of rattling train doors, we are a nation of silent songs inside earplugs.

The dense, aboriginal murk of the cave lurks in all my walls, yet I tell you: Don’t be afraid. Choose massive regret or relish being captive in a psychedelic trip. I want to say how I care for you: it’s just the shadow of your speeding head that shattered against the vanishing stations. Your baggie jeans are old-fashioned, and your thinning hair makes me say, stick to your current girlfriend. I’ve informed the look-alike elderly man on the other platform; your son is safe. Go home and know the joy of reunions. Your steps, the true heat map of freedom. Do talk, once you breach my digital  labyrinth—Sorry, my memory is a prison to which I no longer hold the keys, yet,

I offer my words
to the torrent of language
lost between our shores.


About the Author

Aditya Shankar’s poetry and translations are in reputed journals and anthologies around the world. He has been nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize multiple times. His book XXL was shortlisted for the Yuva Puraskar award (Sahitya Akademi). After Seeing and Party Poopers are his other volumes of poetry. He lives in Bangalore, India.