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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
Current Issue
29 May 2023

We are touched and encouraged to see an overwhelming response from writers from the Sino diaspora as well as BIPOC creators in various parts of the world. And such diverse and daring takes of wuxia and xianxia, from contemporary to the far reaches of space!
By: L Chan
The air was redolent with machine oil; rich and unctuous, and synthesised alcohol, sharper than a knife on the tongue.
“Leaping Crane don’t want me to tell you this,” Poppy continued, “but I’m the most dangerous thing in the West. We’ll get you to your brother safe before you know it.”
Many eons ago, when the first dawn broke over the newborn mortal world, the children of the Heavenly Realm assembled at the Golden Sky Palace.
Winter storm: lightning flashes old ghosts on my blade.
transplanted from your temple and missing the persimmons in bloom
immigrant daughters dodge sharp barbs thrown in ambush 十面埋伏 from all directions
Many trans and marginalised people in our world can do the exact same things that everyone else has done to overcome challenges and find happiness, only for others to come in and do what they want as Ren Woxing did, and probably, when asked why, they would simply say Xiang Wentian: to ask the heavens. And perhaps we the readers, who are told this story from Linghu Chong’s point of view, should do more to question the actions of people before blindly following along to cause harm.
Before the Occupation, righteousness might have meant taking overt stands against the distant invaders of their ancestral homelands through donating money, labour, or expertise to Chinese wartime efforts. Yet during the Occupation, such behaviour would get one killed or suspected of treason; one might find it better to remain discreet and fade into the background, or leave for safer shores. Could one uphold justice and righteousness quietly, subtly, and effectively within such a world of harshness and deprivation?
Issue 22 May 2023
Issue 15 May 2023
Issue 8 May 2023
Issue 1 May 2023
Issue 24 Apr 2023
Issue 17 Apr 2023
Issue 10 Apr 2023
Issue 3 Apr 2023
Issue 27 Mar 2023
Issue 20 Mar 2023
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