Five Poems: Tea in Panaji

By Sarabjeet Garcha



You’ve manacled me for life. No wonder
the symbol for infinity is handcuffs,
each loop a permanent ornament
on my wrist that remembers the touch
your hennaed hands radiate to a land
beyond the peripheries to which the body
believes to have confined itself.

Tonight, in Canacona, I am sitting
in a tree in the forest that grows
beyond the boundaries the world knows.
You are looking into my eyes. I blink,
stealing the starlight that lives in yours,
a mud-plastered house for meteors afraid
of dying. When it’s your eyelids’ turn,
the night recedes, leaving a mark
on the walls, a mark denoting the start
of a fingernail script invented
to tell just our tale —

either to be sung full-throated
or to be read in braille.


This night is not a solid rupee
meant to be spent
at one go when the darkness
is still nascent in its iridescence.

This night demands to be spent,
watch by slow watch,
as sixteen loose annas, each as opulent
as the moonlit Savannah
ringing the city we see
in the vicinity of our twined bodies.


What are leaves
if not green birds
which, one day, getting tired,
decided to steady themselves
by flattening their bodies—
wings outspread—and
attaching themselves to trees,
their beaks fused and rolled
into pliant petiole-cylinders
through which they whispered
their thanks to the earth
for letting them feel
the gift of gravity?
Now, even roots know
what the sky looks like,
and the birds know
the flavour of soil.

Night of the New Moon

In a bare room
an electric bulb
feeding on darkness
the sun
sending out its heart
to the occupants
in spoonfuls

Tea in Panaji

Smoothened with tea mist,
this arrowed air calls for
multiple mute piercings
of the adamant throb-organ.
Each spoon swirl gets translated
into a cyclone in the cup called earth.

Whirls wind us tight
into each other’s arms,
crushing us into particles
that’ll never see partition
while we wait to become
a flavour lingering
in the invisible archer’s mouth.

The world might forget us,
but we will continue
to live on as an aftertaste
on all the tongues
that never give up
pronouncing the word love.


Sarabjeet Garcha is a bilingual poet, an editor, translator and publisher. He is the author of four books of poems, including A Clock in the Far Past (Dhauli Books, 2018) and a collection in Hindi. His work appears in several journals among them, Modern Poetry in Translation, the Vocabula Review, Right Hand Pointing, Coldnoon, Foundling Review and Indian Literature. He is the editorial director of Copper Coin, a multilingual publishing company. Buy A Clock in the Far Past here.