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Three Poems by Naina Dey


The sun smells like the sun in my childhood

As I turn over the potatoes

Sanitized and left to dry

I had not wanted a life sanitizing potatoes

To be used for the fish or cauliflower curry

The sunlight sits heavy on my back, my hands

Shriveling dry the clothes on the line

The plumber fixing the tap

Has pushed forward the clock hand

It is ONE  

And the rice isn’t washed yet

Strains of "Aap jaisa koi" float in from some neighbour’s

Making me pause, my veins tingle

I dance in a gold lamé under disco lights

Nazia’s silvery tongue running down my bare back

The shadows waver

Sparkles glow in the half-dark

Groggy with song and the sweet pungent smell of sanitizers

I drop the potatoes one by one

Into the filigreed basket

Myself into the well of depression

For the hundredth thousandth time.

A Poem on Love

I can write poems to you

In the quietness of noon

In the darkness of night

Thank god, I have no time to fret 

Over sickness and death

While I slog from dawn to dusk

I find time for love’s deception

Winter Wind

Last night I saw the wind

Freezing cold

Ruffling the fronds and the rubber plant

It blew past my window

While I stood in the darkness and wondered 

If it saw me seeing it

How does it feel

With the winter wind on my skin

My pullover at my feet?

I watched the lone dog

Roaming restless

With nothing warm put on

How do they feel

The homeless

Under threadbare sheets

Bitten by the sweeping winter wind?


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