Thursday 10 November 2022

Two Poems by Smitha Sehgal




so much sorrow, he says

breaking into light

Ophelia becomes a drenched red leaf in

memory of rivers

flowing into her mouth

moon is a woman

opening into heart of forest

this night


holding anvil and bow,

she lives in Hamlet

a familiar bird’s throaty song ascends valley

afar from home

becoming profound aloofness

in a teacup,

spreading caramel tongue

strange creatures of thought carry her bier



whiff of damp earth in


bird calls, shiuli flowers

elsewhere on stove tops


carousel of day

hunched in raincoat

her swollen womb


gestating his seeds

of poetry

sun, smeared in

venom of Hamlet’s name


and twists in misery

so much sorrow, he says





tucked away on that road turning seaward

convenience store with grant back rights

sold everything between

comic books on string and betel nut


a whirring wall fan, powered mixer

brimming with mango pulp

on a prejudiced noon of fresh lime soda

we stood in front of candy jars –


doe eyed girl and me

her mother went out with strange men

at night without alibis, town rumoured,

her father lay slow churning in his alcohol vomit


we stood in front of candy jars –

doe eyed girl and me

I (mute) pretended busy counting caramel flavoured toffee

my shoelaces had come undone


‘Father is a teetotaller’- announces a customer

wide grinned

she blanches, but smiles any way

chasing flies resting on her bare feet


voiceless seldom have choice

men stared in strange ways

in our old town

many years later I learn


the doe eyed girl eloped with a mule driver

her mother- whom I mostly saw stricken,

pale under harsh sun, pool of grief in eyes,


limp brown drape with white flowers

she died abrupt, of a broken heart

women live and die

becoming poems in our coastal town

Smitha Sehgal is a legal professional in Oil & Gas Public Sector Undertaking of the Govt of India. She writes poetry in two languages- English and Malayalam. Her poems, fiction and book reviews have featured in contemporary literary publications as  Reading Hour, Brown Critique, Kritya, Muse India, The Wagon Magazine,  Usawa Literary Review, Parcham, Madras Courier, Water Video Mag, Poetica Review UK, EKL Review, The Criterion, Kalakaumudi, Samakalika Malayalam, Kalapoorna, ShadowKraft, Da Cheung (Korean Literary Journal) and anthologies including  “40 Under 40: An Anthology of Post-Globalisation Poetry” , “Witness -Red River Book of Poetry of Dissent”


1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on these poems. I especially admire the second which I found very moving, but both drew me in. (Incidentally I notice you were published, among many journals, in The Wagon Magazine; I was too; sad that it became defunct when it’s dedicated founder died).


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