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That’s not why she woke up with the first cuckoo song,
to catch the mysterious moves of stars arranging the destiny of the day.
She knew hers was trapped in the figures of the Krishna calendar.
She knew of dead ends
and that the tea she’d boiled for him one last time—
it’s been ten months since the wood fire went cold—
still sent up cardamom and cinnamon curls in the humid air.
What’s different in the number grid, she’d answered me
when I’d asked her if it was a thirty-month or a thirty-one month
she overhauled what she’d just said and broke her pause
one more or one less, but my fright is, what I would do with it.

And generally I didn’t interrupt her pauses
because she found her answers in them
in her own serpentine thinking.
She had become liquid
flowing along the trails of her wandering mind.
She wished more than a thousand times in a day
time needn’t have been painfully benevolent
handing over a legacy she didn’t ask for.

Then she’d said looking deeply into my eyes
Just like how a shore has an ocean, man has time
or time has man? Which one is your pick?

I am used to airy strolls on the clear paths of my philosophies
lurking in the hidden corners of another’s is equal to entering a maze.
Dusting up a thought here and a thought there
my simple credos are suited up and ready to go.
But such easiness irks her, I know.
At such times she is happily aware my mind is in knots
and she leaves me to mess with it further.

She has moved to the next
What is the medium of communication between time and man
like there are waves between the shore and the waters.
A spell of quiet. Dragging me into her guilt she said
time didn’t cost us any sweat and blood. It has made such spendthrifts of us
we must be answerable, don’t you think, for what and how we use it up?

I looked up at the hieroglyphics of the morning stars
What more than a stain on time, I couldn’t read my day.

Daya Bhat is from Bangalore, India. Other than a book of poems, she has new poetry and short fiction appearing in literary publications, some of which are Kitaab, Coldnoon, Indiana Voice Journal, Earthen Lamp, The Bangalore Review, Off the coast, and New Asian Writing.


About her book
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