Three Poems by Ragila Saji

Pic courtesy: Cottonbro


Translated from Malayalam by Ra Sh


Two breasts that came out of the woods

Two breasts
come out of the woods
to enter your dream.

You are scared thinking
they are the cat eyes of
some wild animal.
The breasts seat themselves
on either side of your fear
and squirt milk.

Your throat has gone dry,
so you collect the milk in the cup
of your palm and drink to your fill.

Still unsatisfied, the fingers of
your thirst crawl down
below the waist.

As the dream in which
we became one
and the darkness fade,
light is born.

The dazzling light
hovers above the breasts.

The last word that we uttered
makes contact with the light.

The breasts, with raised eyebrows,
ask each other
in what language this was done.

Both the breasts sharpen their ears.

The goats grazing in the valley are startled
hearing about the last word.

The breasts, realising the danger,
come out of the woods.

As the light vanishes, you wake up
from the dream.

I, lying beside you,
breastfeed our baby.



Thought once that
the greatest distance between two places
was the distance between two houses.

There was a game then
where you made a vacant space
between two trees and hid there
with silence and voices.

Later, used to wipe away
all the distances by
sharing a folk memory between
two mountains.

The distances between two banks
were washed away dipping
one’s hand into the same water.

Birds often fly with distances
under their wings.
Like, animals are trapped
within spoors.

Aeroplanes, often minimise the expanses.
Even the ships, and trains.

But, whatever that may be,
why is it that the distance
between our hearts
never get shortened?

The endpoints of what
constitutes Distance
keep voicing aloud
between us, the word


Being the Forest

The forest unwraps its body.
Strips away the springs.

Like a garment that fits me well
The forest possesses me.

I am now a tree, bird, nest,
Animal, a cavern, prey, darkness,
Wild stream, wild honey.
The tribe of serpents, their venom,
The scriptless language of the tribals.
The interior forest, its myriad sounds.

As the night ends
The crickets and bats that are stuck to my body
Walk towards the light.
Lionesses row towards the houses that are discernible.

I am anguished whether I will lose my body.
Please don’t transform me into me.
Just redo me into something close to a forest.


About the Author


Ragila Saji, from Malappuram, Kerala, is an upcoming voice in feminist poetry in Malayalam. She has two collections to her credit – ‘Polygraph’ and ‘Engane maychu kalayum oraal vannu poyathinte adayaalangal.’ She works as a teacher at Al Salama College of Optometry at Perinthalmanna, Kerala.



About the Translator

Ravi Shanker (aka Ra Sh) is a poet and translator based in Palakkad, Kerala. He has published four collections of poetry, Architecture of Flesh (Poetrywala), Bullet Train and Other Loaded Poems (Hawakal), Kintsugi by Hadni (RLFPA) and In the Mirror, Our Graves, a chapbook with Ritamvara Bhattacharya.  Ravi Shanker is also a translator whose English translations include Mother Forest (Women Unlimited), Waking is Another Dream (Navayana), Don’t Want Caste (Navayana), Kochiites (Greenex), How to Translate an Earthworm (Dhauli Books) and The Ichi Tree Monkey and new and selected stories of Bama (Speaking Tiger).