Dawn cracks
over Delhi
like a smooth,
white egg, sunny
yolk of hope,
perennially dented,
in the welkin;
on the wall, last
night’s smoke
-scented jacket
on the peg,
behind the glass
window, a housefly
licks the day, sulking.
You can’t,
for the life of you,
find a majestic
enough metaphor,
for strife
and genesis,
all drafts are only ‘rough’
and all that
you don’t know yet
is that you’ll shake
some hands at work,
grow meditative
and feel the slow
tendentious pain
of hunger
and try to sedate it
with cigarettes
yet act irritated
like no one
has been hungrier.
How could one tell
by looking at a corpse
that died of starvation
how it died?
Mouth agape,
mid scream.
The eyes
popped out at you,
like a clown’s nose
and rigor mortis
prudently froze
the pell mell
of the last
(and frenetic)
things he felt.
Do you remember
the time you once shook
a hand that left
an impression, like a foot
on wet concrete,
and became solid
like an anvil
in your memory?
It comes back
every time inanition
knocks about
in your stomach,
a sensorial ignition
in your buttocks.
“and why, why now”
You look to the bathroom
mirror, and touch
the grainy hand
towel by the sink.
Why were her hands
so rough, and vile
at that age?
Why did she choose
to do the dishes
without gloves?
No one to go
home to,
no one to love?
No one to hold
hands with, or play
push and shove.
<My parents aren’t in Delhi,
they’re in Ranchi.>
<Okay.> you said.
She’s a bit old to
sound this young.
You could not let her
sweep your house
that one time.
<Just play with my toys today>,
you ordered, and watched
her from behind the curtain,
with the strangest sadness.

Medha Singh

Medha Singh is a poet from New Delhi. Her first collection of poems Ecdysis (2017) has been published by Poetrywala, Mumbai. Her poems have previously appeared​ or are forthcoming​ in Nether,​ Coldnoon,​ Muse India, The Bombay Literary Magazine, The Journal of the Poetry Society, Indian Cultural Forum, Hakara,​ Stag Hill Literary Journal (UK)​ and several others. Her poems are forthcoming in the Sahitya Akademi (The Indian Academy of Letters) and Red Hen​ (US)​ anthologies of Contemporary Indian Writing. Her interests range widely, between philosophy, photography, cinema, music and painting, owed largely to filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. She is former Editor-at-Large at Coldnoon. She holds a Masters degree in English Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.