Two Delhi Poems
September 23, 2016
There are "To let" signs
but they don't
let you in.
This city of dreams
is made of atoms
and shattered stars
of the young.
Admitting to none of this,
cities hacked and stood watching.
I had come here once
into a beloved’s eyes.
Yes, the usual story:
as outcasts, we depended
on old love
but couldn't hold on.
One left the city
and survived on memories.
Backward and forward —
as tides of cities run —
we were not the first of young divorces;
astounded, laughing in the family court
we told each other, “The world has plenty of fools like us.”
I showed you none of my wounds.
What could I say, it was already May
We still thought
somewhat as companions facing the carnivorous city.
Back in my room
the fan fluttered all the papers to be signed,
fluttering within the excavated cave
where many like me
live in cities across the world.
rather than those divorce papers
finally drove me
A young woman
enters the university.
Unable to leave history behind,
she carries her oriental face
A young man smiles.
He asks the first question:
"Are you promiscuous?"
Paroxysm of laughter —
the first laughter of the semester.
Like the oppressed, you are taught to expand your understanding;
that a precise small flower of peace
rather than froth should emerge from you.
The amaltas and the owl outside
contemplate this crisis.
In the classroom
the professor tells me
the limits of my understanding.
She holds her Psalm of Merleau-Ponty.
In deliberate small movements of her mouth,
she tells me the names of all the thinkers
I should have read.
Soibam Haripriya is Assistant Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati. Her poems have appeared in an anthology Tattooed with Taboos (Partridge, 2014). Her works are also included in 40 under 40: An Anthology of Post-Globalisation Poetry (Paperwall, 2016).
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