Two Poems by Satya Dash


False Dawn

If necessary or in love, a jaw transforms
into a hip & vice-versa— a game of mouths feeding
cream-curdled, eye-knuckled, spice-smeared
nerves that are nothing but genes looped over
& over again into new histories of land-shuffled,
water-glued, tree-tongued beds. I’m told, I was born

in anticipation of this mess, the first to arrive alive, my parents well
into the 21st year of a mildewed marriage, ending years
of anger & disenchantment, ending years of long rituals
of consultation with doctors, priests, astrologers. What this meant:
once I grew up, the unhappiness returned— haunting, undiminished
with a resolve that never hacks but stings slow & scythes soft

as a strategy to sustain. In the face of what I cannot control,
must I always flicker like a selfish leaf, laburnum-winged,
asbestos-scented, jaundiced like the brass of a crestfallen trumpet?
A travesty or tragedy—  I’m not sure, but unlike in the realm
of arithmetic, double-minused & division-cancelled, my maggot
-kilned body of dusk, born to answer the darkness of dusk

was mistaken for light.

The Prize: A Double Sonnet

eyes burbling eyes buckshot eyes renounced    ways
of imagination    rife with spice    diaphanous with a hint
of trickery    like finding out the antlers of an antelope
are actually horns    animated in adjacent thirst as mouth pickles
soft clarity of a lake    what the head without a body is
capable of     jealousy perhaps    breathing fire into
wanton clanging of a musked second    hiding
behind the blue temple    behind a door of ornate filigree
behind a golden lock    the key of which the wise king
had given his trusted advisor    in anticipation of pleasure
in the hunt for a future treasure    but a rival minister cudgeled
by a cheap moment of madness    had it made    out of debauched
metal    that galvanized by the rust of years was unable
to profess any sort of earnest love to the old lock    metal whacked

to make metal obdurate handshake grotesque    after victory
of resisting observed consummation    the door broken
down by an imported machine in a jurassic event    eyes rushed
to unearth eyes giddy eyes baroque    only to discover a room
having one wall missing    only to hear the faint laughter
of familiar eyes from decades back    from a celestial terrace
now conducting this orchestra    in beautiful breaths
of befuddlement    hearts and lungs of eyes becoming
one   in the wall of absence subsumed length breadth
and depth of visionary air    as if an aquarium’s water
had been finally endowed with the lucid life of flickering fish
the eyes having wined    drowsy of lesson weary of spectacle
tiptoe into closets for tight dreaming    since they have come
to see    there are no walls    behind the new wall


About the Author:

Satya Dash is the recipient of the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize for 2020. His poems appear in Waxwing, Wildness, Redivider, Passages North, The Boiler, The Florida Review, Prelude, The Cortland Review and The Journal among others. Apart from having a degree in electronics from BITS Pilani-Goa, he has been a cricket commentator too. He has been nominated previously for Orison Anthology, Best of the Net and Best New Poets. He grew up in Cuttack, Odisha and now lives in Bangalore. He tweets at: @satya043

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