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Rabindra K. Swain

Stalks Of Lotus

It is ridiculous to raise a fence
around the steps, but that's it.
Raising a prayer from the graves
of lips or a flower from the bud
of a slit belief is how
it relates itself to life,
true or fictional. Admit,
in the fence you have a plinth
deeper than an azure despair.
You have made your steps auxiliary
with the gravels of slow hurt.
Each step, into bone's corridor.
Traces of light stale at each end
of the tunnel. What's dark
if it is seen, and life?
What is a fence if it is not
like a palm feeling for another
on the float of a last breath
that suddenly turns its face north
and blank, imparting to it the substance
of a lung to close upon
the night enveloping its lawn—
lotus stalks from the navel
of mud, or of a dwarfish god?

A Poem's Worth

For a space as little as this
so much quarrel with the world,
for words as few as these
so much ruse, so much subterfuge!

What is had, at last, at hand,
is it worth waiting for?
The whole family is in a quandary—
mother gone to bed without food;

her ravings, her hurt, her pique:
kill her. Who am I
but a maid feeding upon your pity.
But don't forget, we never beat you,

not even once. And wife,
frozen on the threshold,
watches the silent screams
floating in and out of her throat.

The child beaten up is an inaudible
thunder growling in the distance.
When will her tears let up?
You are ashamed to look at the mirror

that this blank space offers.
Each word cropping up holds its own terror.
The thorns of this silence have no flower.
Of what worth is a poem, after all?


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