By Saima Afreen
The Sea Knows the Itinerary of Pain
After Vainguinim beach
Our bodies are water
waiting to dock
at the shores
and give the voyage its closure.
It didn’t happen. That’s why we have seas
running to continents
fringing their frills with sails, shells
pushing away their own reflection,
liquid mirrors, shipwrecks drowned
in the hearts
of white roses.
tries to raise forts that could never hold
their heads again, a wharf fishes the sun that dies
each day in some coral eyes;
on lagoons that spill on our skin
we thought were windows. They were just fishnets
catching our reflections from the void above.
The sea bangs its head
lifts my coffin – the land,
gifts me storms,
sometimes gathers in folds around my ankles
running to space the dying sun leaves;
it gushes, hushes
leaps, seeps --
its foams clean the alphabetical noise
disturbing the systole, diastole;
the salt stored on islets
and it falls
without any ceremony one last time
inside my iris.
After We Damaged Each Other
I am dressed. In grief.
The ancient sea rises and rises
touches the nests s c a t t e r e d on winds,
sleeping Dona Paula, broken corals of Orwell,
scents of soft mud that morphemes carry;
the silk floss tree gently stirs
the gardens inside me.
The salt touches their hearts
what the clocks erase,
the wreckage collects
and hides the treasure inside the heart of a land
where green stays green;
the jungles never prepare
For the surrender, for fuel;
they grew wherever the lakes within us spilled
we stroked each other
squeezed the darkness within
there were craters in your soul
where you held the earth as a dry rose;
I pick our broken pieces
try playing a game of hide and seek
in spaces hollow
to recesses where the light refuses to enter
and pluck shards a princess once did
we exist in gaps, the missing parts
the broken smiles, the stained dawns
in blank shapes,
in scattered crockery of rhymes
breathing in mosaic floors
where we are museumed
as incomplete fables.
Saima Afreen is an award-winning poet who also moonlights as a journalist with The New Indian Express. Her poems have appeared in several national and international journals like Indian Literature, HCE Review, The Bellingham Review, The Stillwater Review, The McNeese Review, The Nassau Review, The Oklahoma Review, Staghill Literary Journal, The Notre Dame Review, Honest Ulsterman, and Existere among others. She has been part of several literary festivals and platforms such as Sahitya Akademi Poets’ Meet, Goa Arts and Literary Festival, TEDx VNR-VJIET, Prakriti Poetry Festival, Betty June Silconas Poetry Festival (New Jersey) and Helsinki Poetry Jam (Finland) and elsewhere. She was awarded Villa Sarkia Writers Residency (Finland) for autumn 2017 where she completed the manuscript of her debut poetry book Sin of Semantics and Other Poems.