Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry II



There came a point
where he could no longer count
their fingers on the fingers of his own hands.
He beamed with pride, satisfied.

a garland/necklace of sliced fingers.
Some people collect stamps, rare books, vintage records, cars;
here was a brigand with a bizarre fondness for bodily souvenirs.

What prodded this mania to maim? Was it indeed a pupil's
abject devotion to his master, the envy of others
that tricked him into attacking travellers, numb
in their inability to grasp?

*	*	*

There are not digits enough to number the world's injustices. Or to fathom the quiet,
fierce power that eventually led Angulimala to mend his ways, quit fingering around.

For T., who Likens Me to a Rock

You say I am
a rock
sitting on the fringe,
soil-eyed, unmoved.

You are quite right,
a right little person
blindly flashing
a torch.

In fact,
I am one
with the darkness.

I swallow the moon
and stars,
blow the sun
a fatal kiss.

You, T., see
only what
that guiding sliver
of light
(or rather the night)
enable you
to see.

I have known
your big-toothed smile.
I draw the black 
around me.

In the distance,
I hear
vampires chuckle.

Garlic, blood,
fish and loaves.

A pebble is picked
up and hurled
at a passing bat.


He takes off his head
at the end of the day
lays it aside
like a crown.