Aditya Shankar

Aditya Shankar is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominated Indian poet, flash fiction author, and translator. His work has appeared in international journals and anthologies of repute and translated into Malayalam and Arabic. Books: After Seeing (2006), Party Poopers (2014), and XXL (Dhauli Books, 2018) that was shortlisted for the Yuva Puraskar by Sahitya Akademi, India. He lives in Bangalore, India.

Trousers

Day is a tunnel that opens like a trouser,

only at the ends.

 

You enter them without a choice at daybreak,

snake your way out only by dusk.

Worse, you are alone in them all day.

 

Cuddle as close as you can,

but everyone has their own trousers to crawl out of,

their own sweat and stink to survive,

their own unique darkness to comprehend.

 

Dance together.

Walk together.

Embrace with legs intertwined.

But it is tough to imagine 

a communion of men and women clad in trousers: 

a contraceptive that prevents 

the blend of your movement into a protest march.

 

Trousers are perfect business wear.

They divide time into infinite columns or strands

that cannot join in linear to form a historical narrative.

 

At best,

a pile of trousers (with or without men in them)

can either form a pile of corpses

or a bundle of waste ready to be burnt.

 

The exhaust that turns the radiance of breath

into the murk of smoke is my upper body, says the trouser.

 

Secretively,

they divide the world into equal dark halves

that house struggling laymen.

Remembrance Day

A plucked flower on the grave 

is a corpse on another.

The prayer you uttered 

and the tear you shed in prayer,

another layer of death.

 

The marvel of death 

dims the act of living 

in display by windswept, 

sunlit cemetery flowers:

the flowers 

that wish to hold their bloom 

till your visit,

the flowers 

that wish to die in your hands 

to be offered to the dead,

the flowers and their generations 

that fail in waiting,

only to bury 

your narrow cemetery trail in foliage.

 

But you are no more 

to pay a visit or to be remembered

or to remember the dear dead.

The flowers are no more 

to hold their bloom and wither in waiting.

The trail is no more 

to snake its way out of the underbrush.

 

After a while, 

the cemetery is no longer a cemetery.

Memory and city is soil.

Any place, 

apt enough to offer a prayer 

to wilt in waiting 

or to burn in love.