2 Poems by Anuradha Vijayakrishnan

10 April 2010
2 Poems by Anuradha Vijayakrishnan
Salt in my coffee

Not for Mumbai

Salt trails on the sand where the sea tried
to hide last night. Your hand clamped brownly
on my skin as the beach spits ire
on our faces, cries out again

and again in pain and mourning
mists our morning eyes.
We must go, declare the clouds. We must
seek a safe place, far far
from the burning sands. Your fingers hurry
to gift me shells, pink bits of sea
hardened with pain. Rain falls hard too.
Tough black rain reeking of the burning
city, of bushy eyebrows and acrid leave-taking.

We grit our teeth smiling as we run. My tears
as pure as yours—crying out and into
each other—salt of the earth spilling

into the last dregs of my coffee.

The litchi tree

Grows in a pot, a little one sitting on a wooden shelf
that used to be a shoe rack. A whole guava tree,
born from seeds thrown
in on a late Sunday afternoon. The seeds
came from a bunch of golden guava so sweet
we guessed at mixed blood in its red veins. Like
those blue eyed children we see sometimes, in the laps
of brown skinned mothers, who remember
their mothers' lives far more clearly than their own.
Fair, thin skinned, soft fleshed fruit picked for the price
of a morning walk, a few quick notes tossed into the lap
of a crummy woman squatting by the roadside,
orange teeth sticking out a mile, her
a patchwork of rumples and crumples
and infinite arrogance. Mixed blood.

The seeds took well to the soil, prepared for less, much less
than this bounty of water and sun and sugary velvety earth.
So now there is a guava tree growing
out of a pot as large as a baby's stomach
and rubbing its leaves playfully
against the iron vines of the grill, the plastery white bark of the walls.

We just gave it another for company; litchi
with the promise of redness when ripe.

(First published in Orbis 139)

Anuradha Vijayakrishnan is a chemical engineer and a postgraduate in management from XLRI, Jamshedpur. A trained Carnatic singer, she writes fiction and poetry while pursuing a career in banking. Her work has appeared in NW14, Magma, Orbis, Soundings, Aesthetica, Asian Cha, Eclectica, Asia Literary Review, Mascara, Indian Literature and Nth Position. She was an invited participant at the 2007 Prakriti poetry festival held in Chennai and the Muse India meet held in Hyderabad in 2005. Her poem "The epiphyte speaks" from Magma 44 will feature in Magma's 15th anniversary commemorative anthology. She won a special mention in the 2008 Open spaces-Harper Collins poetry competition on the theme of 'Borders'. Vijayakrishnan's novel Seeing the Girl was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2007.
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