Poetry – Two Poems – Aditya Shankar

“That the seedling might reach me is hope.”
Illustration by @Shireki


I watch a seedling sprout.
The way it bids adieu
to the grass and morning dew, 
almost unnoticed, 
outside the concern of the world. 
The seedling could spread its arms,
graze the electric line, get tangled 
in the passing grief of the creeper. 
On this parched concrete strip, it
could imagine itself to be a hand pump
—the trickle from its lip
quenches the thirst of sparrows.
A possible easy chair for wary crows.
An engineering marvel
for adventure-loving squirrels.
That the seedling might reach me is hope.
The eye merely peeps; It knows its cage.
I find my fruition
in shadowing a seedling in my garden.


My B&W dream is a tree.
From its nest, Jacques Tati says:
A postman in haste 
is the pupa of a cargo jet.
My technicolor dream is a hill.
From its slopes, Neruda says:
A postman on the ascend 
is the struggle to know a poet.
The rhythm of soft pedalling
challenges the crickets,
reinstates an older silence.
A paddy field resurfaces, along
the contours of the rolling wheel.
The shadow of whistling
dissolves in the shadow of birds.
A pond without kids to dive,
the calm dial of time—
it longs for its lost hands.
Yet it lets 
the shadow of a postman
glide through its belly like a fish.
Will the postman 
be a dove that returns
with an olive leaf to Noah’s Ark*?
Will they deliver a longing,
the calligraphy 
of an erstwhile alphabet?

Aditya Shankar is an Indian poet, flash fiction author and translator, with multiple nominations for Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. His work has been published and anthologized widely and translated into Malayalam and Arabic. His latest work can be read at Singing in the Dark from Penguin Random House, Collective Realms from Lazy Adventure Publishing. Books include: After Seeing (2006), Party Poopers (2014), and XXL (Dhauli Books, 2018). He lives in Bangalore, India.

You can reach Aditya on Twitter: @suncave or Instagram: adityan.s

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