K. Srilata, Things I didn’t know I loved

(after Nazim Hikmet)

I didn’t know I loved windows so much
but I do – enough to wrestle
someone to the ground over them,
so light can, once again, flood my eyes.

I didn’t know I loved bare feet so much,
or walking away on them to wherever point,
my heart slung over my shoulder
like a sheep-skin bag.

I didn’t know I loved small islands of quiet
in the middle of the day,
but I do – they feel like old friends.

I didn’t know I loved the idea
of night descending like a tired bird
or birds flying in and out of rooms and poems
but I do.

I didn’t know I loved so many things.
Only now that I have read Hikmet,
am I setting them free,
one by one.

K. Srilata, Things I didn’t know I loved

Arun Kolatkar, The Door

A prophet half brought down
from the cross.
A dangling martyr.

Since one hinge broke
the heavy medieval door
hangs on one hinge alone.

One corner drags in dust on the road,
The other knocks
against the high threshold.

Like a memory that only gets sharper
with the passage of time,
the grain stands out on the wood

as graphic in detail
as a flayed man of muscles who can’t find
his way back to an anatomy book

and is leaning against
any old doorway to sober up
like the local drunk.

Hell with the hinge and damn the jamb
the door would have walked out
long long ago

if it weren`t for
that pair of shorts
left to dry upon its shoulders.

Arun Kolatkar, The Door

Agha Shahid Ali, The Wolf’s Postscript to Little Red Riding Hood

First, grant me my sense of history:
I did it for posterity,
for kindergarten teachers
and a clear moral:
Little girls shouldn’t wander off
in search of strange flowers,
and they mustn’t speak to strangers.

And then grant me my generous sense of plot:
Couldn’t I have gobbled her up
right there in the jungle?
Why did I ask her where her grandma lived?
As if I, a forest-dweller,
didn’t know of the cottage
under the three oak trees
and the old woman lived there
all alone?
As if I couldn’t have swallowed her years before?

And you may call me the Big Bad Wolf,
now my only reputation.
But I was no child-molester
though you’ll agree she was pretty.

And the huntsman:
Was I sleeping while he snipped
my thick black fur
and filled me with garbage and stones?
I ran with that weight and fell down,
simply so children could laugh
at the noise of the stones
cutting through my belly,
at the garbage spilling out
with a perfect sense of timing,
just when the tale
should have come to an end.

Agha Shahid Ali, The Wolf’s Postscript to Little Red Riding Hood