Poems by Kalyani Bindu

Pic by J Lee



The Only Fable

They stop by your window during your afternoon naps.
Weren’t you watching as you pushed your forehead onto the sill,
letting the sleeping one know that the crows have turned against you?

Will you wake up this time, let them know?
A finger sprouting canons from the village of the dream destitute.

Or retcon their silent coops into bulimic upheavals, as always?

Compliance holds its breath.

Artillery is growing skin (pore-less and breathless)
as the land that was the beast sheds the last fondling of a sappy tendril
in feverish fits, planning a pecking order of air upon air as dream debris
trickle-down as sooty mold, as trees, roads, bylanes and lakes, worms,
fish, rodents and apes banish themselves into a memory tantrum,

in that order.

Yes. These are the same tales.

Dogs in make-shift coffins float down aisles into sacrificial water holes
marking the carnivals of their time-hopping — like a midnight feline jumping
windows without entering, exiting like there never was another choice —
time and again, unpardonable muses in transit, walking sideways,
sidestepping into anthills of stockpile time, fragmenting days in the middle.

(Are you telling me that) you will dive deep down, face first,
into the salt of their stories?

(Shall we say that) the fable of their voices lingers like a rasp in your nether ends.

I had scanned the morning air for premonitions,
read flocks of birds like tea leaves,
brandishing the butter knife close to my belly.

The point being:

did they have a name, or were they incantations?


Public records – I

I try to remember where in my mind’s predestined crevices
are the offspring of a sweet spectre refilling fictional ceramic
cups with the dregs of a storm winding down to a day.

Circumstantial evidence of thoughts wandering to specific people.

We had witnessed, my detective partner and I, records of
dreams aired out in public.

Airborne and shape-shifting, we thought.
Flukes dressed in buoyant white plastic.

Shall we close this case, on the invisible allures of
sidestepping the carnival?

Imagine becoming undead on the serrated edges
of these lily-shadows floating tangentially to the wind.

What would be left of us, our public records?

We choreographed the moves precisely.

Unashamed and mute, as if no language could have
birthed this unmoored wind of an eventuality.

Situational sweetness, we called it.
A step-down, and another flight of stairs.

A long corridor out on the street, gutted open with a
whiteness that is seldom emitted from the ground.

White pillars to wear like body cloaks.

Two rooms to use as a conduit. One lit. Another dark.

And will be vice versa, just as we blindfold the studs,
just like we decided.

We were to resemble unentwined plants in an Iranian café.
The gravity still only unlearning its ways.


Public records – II

I had landed with a gash across my ears and pockmarks in my innards,
miscible, blending in like filial spies.

It is the intimacy of the espionage that you want to touch and recoil from,
like there was no depth that could be upended with greater impact.

The dream was that I would meet him after the dregs settle.
No ceremonious premonitions – soiled carcasses on purple flower paste.

He would float in like a pillar gone magically astray, with an unbroken set
of teeth, sharpened at its apices.

I wouldn’t be so sure of the black beaded eyes – there was nothing to be
bought there.

Living things came with a price.

The second dream was that dreams were incarcerations – slight beings
returning to collect taxes.

The third dream was that we would trade nothing, not even this vagrancy
pulling one in to refill fugitive presences, the dregs of planned absence.

So, what about this case, detective?

Extend your stay. Let’s take a walk and look the other way.


About the Author

Indian writer and researcher. Two Moviegoers was her first poetry collection. Her poems and essays have appeared/are forthcoming in the Kali Project: Indian Women’s Voices (Indie Blu(e) anthology), Better than Starbucks, Half Empty Magazine, the Indian Express, Ethos Literary Journal, New Asian Writing, Modern Literature, Madras Courier, Muse India, Guftugu and others. She is a poetry editor at Variant Literature Journal. During her time as a columnist (The Occasional Owl) in White Crow Art Daily, she wrote articles revolving around socio-cultural themes.