Submissions open for Wingword Poetry Prize 2020

Saving Yellow Sky

Kaushiki Saraswat

The cane chairs,
on the verandah in Dehradun mum dad I
sat outside looking at the yellow sky which always
came by to say hello in August,
a pause to summer heat

I miss the days when
The smell of the soil
Had no word for it in my vocabulary
It was just magical and mysterious.

somehow fixed on dad’s lap,
his belly and broad chest heaving,
made it feel like I was on a swing
mum in-between chatter and chai
we ran from room to room shutting
all the windows, doors, pulling clothes off the line


How many times in the last week
Did you look at the sky?
The other day a friend told me that
One could see the stars in my eyes.
But can they see the sky?
(the lost ones)

before it starts to pour
we had to settle at the verandah to witness it
with newspapers stacked in one corner,
chai ke glass on the floor by each one’s chair
mine, of course with dad,
carefully making me sip the magic potion
that’ll take away my hard breathing

Do you think you can hold me
like you hold the first rain drops in your palms
Do you think, you can give me some of your sky
What would it mean?

i woke up to thunder and nightmares last night
i went back to those nights after yellow skies,
when all the plants died and pots broke
and we saved as many we could
by keeping them inside the house
the morning light after such a night was welcomed
a new plan of cleaning the mess,
the dead plants, semi broken pots was made each year
grief was managed well productively

If you could save a few lives.
Would you try to save mine?
Would I make it to the list.
Not that I need a proof of affection.
No no, not like that.
Go ahead and save better lives.
Would you save mine by keeping my stories
close to your heart,
By keeping my contact number and the name
it flashes
By wishing I was there when you look at the
sky,
By feeling me around when the first rain hits
your palms.
Would you spare a sigh?
We save all that we can.
Sometimes, that’s all the saving one needs.

we save all that we can.
Sometimes that’s all the saving one needs, right.

 

This work has been published in Beetle Magazine's June 2020 Issue. Read the full issue here: https://issuu.com/beetlemag/docs/june2020

Illustration by Dhanashree Pimputkar


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