about the author

Nandini Dhar is the author of the book Historians of Redundant Moments (Agape Editions, 2017). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Memorious, New South, Best New Poets 2016, and elsewhere. Nandini hails from Kolkata, India, and divides her time between her hometown and Miami, Florida, where she works as an Assistant Professor of English at Florida International University.

Bookmark and Share


font size

One Poem 

Nandini Dhar

As the City Chisels Itself from the Carfumes,

an affliction creaks inside the streetlights,
turns the broken cobblestones into unearthed notebooks
of what lies beyond—

a submerged estuary, ravaged mangroves, a seed
in the beak of a babbler. A girl
with a periwinkle behind her ears

stealth-opens the door, summons her pet
sparrow. A clacking of her tongue,
an impatient rhythm in between her thumb
and index finger. The sparrow flaps

its wings, shades its brown and grey—a chorus
of colors this city has forgotten
to redraw save and except in neon-lights.

In its unfurled feathers, the sparrow
will tether the girl, together they will transplant
coconuts within the elephant-ear leaves
of a banana plantation.

            When the sparrow
            draws blood with its beak
            in the middle of the girl’s palm, it is
            to coalesce the knowledge

that it is in splitting our own bones,
that we house others’ love-stories.

In seven years, the girl will refuse
to pray, leap from roof to roof,

looking for two gigantic clockhands
to rattle the city awake: a concrete
act of disobedience as befits

            only a Catholic schoolgirl. Yet,
            insubordination, too, is a kind of grammar book.
            An affliction that requires diligence, learning

by rote. Across her thighs, sprouts an eucalyptus—
dead, from the very moment of its inception. Yet, offering

its branches for the migrant birds to fall asleep. Inside
the beak of the sparrow, a colony of locusts.
Our girl is young, but not young enough to forget,

a daffodil-bruised tongue, cannot
be rubbed anew with cussa-grass. Today, she
forgets—again—to feed the sparrow.

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...