By Salil Chaturvedi
Winner of the JRLJ Editor’s Choice Award


from this
height I
(lavender-smelling Kiran, are you listening?)
my seed into the
night of Mumbai towards the
ovum of earth
passionately hoping that my
quintessence will mingle and
release a
species from extinction, if my love for the earth
has been true.


Now they’ve built
a bridge, Kiran
which looks like your asana
over the Mapusa river
so that it’s possible to traverse
it quickly (and quietly)
regardless of the time
and of the half-hourly
ferry and also without
the incendiary sips of feni
and the usual verbiage
at the water’s edge —
in short, now one can cross
the river
without experiencing it.


You say you don’t remember
(you have absolutely no inkling?)
But I remember that lazy afternoon
when I applied the sun-tan lotion on your
back on Bogmalo beach. You said,
‘my body is your canvas.’
I am devastated that
the memory exists
only in my brain.
Frenetically I’ve researched the matter and
gathered all the facts. It’s amazing that all our
happiness (and all our opposite sorrows) reside
as invisible proteins attached to the end
of synapses. A jaded memory is simply
a contusion, an amino acid, enzyme
or exhausted reagent knocked out
sacrificing a precious illusion, my
lovely love protein, Kiran!


At the lakeside,
by myself,
in a rare comma of existence
I discovered the great silence
(that you often speak of!)
Right there, on the edge
of the lake, I understood what you mean
when ‘feel gravity through my buttocks,’ you say.
A goat nibbling on the
grass looked up at me and
how, I don’t know,
but it communicated
just how good the grass was.
Keenly I observed the silent syntax
of the Universe: the lingo of thrusts
and pinches, strokes and squeezes,
rubs and nibbles, these morphemes of the cosmos,
now you don’t have to speak of them —
One wink will do.


Read the full poem in our print anthology ‘The Brave New World of Goan Writing 2018.’ Buy the anthology here.

Salil Chaturvedi’s short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous journals, including Wasafiri, Guftugu and Indian Cultural Forum. He is the Asia-region winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Competition, 2008, and he won the Unisun/British Council Short Story Award in 2009. He also won the Wordweavers Poetry Contest in 2015. His debut poetry collection titled, In The Sanctuary Of A Poem, was released at the GALF, 2017.