by Medha Singh

It’s hard to turn back from what these hands have touched.
In one world, you’d want it to be silk, mead, ice sheets, dust—
I’d say yes to all, but touch the black wind inside your ribcage
instead. It was then I knew a cold thing. We’ve gone on making
something of invisible sorrows in the night, as with elements:
what sits on a potting wheel but dance & congress of ocean limb,
orphaned earth, stray wind, and trial, by fire. To build not break. It’s dark
inside an earthen pot, so the water cool in summer heat. I now know
this bright chill— ingots of gold, driftwood in winter & old rubber
tyres in snow that burn the village dead. I have known all
one could touch: tribal song on the other side of a forest, I know
because it touched me first, I walked away still, having had
these hands already on the newness of the strange—
cobblestones, different water, wood sorrel, this rain.


About the Author

Medha Singh is a poet, translator and editor. She is Associate Editor of Berfrois. Her first book is called Ecdysis (Poetrywala, 2017) and her second book is  a work of translation, a collection of love letters that she translated from the French, penned by Indian modernist painter Sayed Haider Raza during his time in France, I Will Bring My Time: Love Letters by S.H. Raza (Vadehra Art Gallery, 2020). Her work has appeared in Almost Island, Indian Quarterly, The Bombay Literary Magazine, Poetry at Sangam, Hotel, 3:AM , The Charles River JournalThe Wire and Scroll among others. Her work has been anthologized in Singing in The Dark (Penguin, 2020), The Gollancz Book of Speculative Writing (Harper Collins, 2021), Contemporary Indian Poetry by Younger Indians (Sahitya Akademi, 2020), Best Indian Poetry 2018 (RLFPA editions) among others. Her second book of poems is forthcoming.

Post Image

Detail from Tero Karppinen: Oxalis acetosella, 2022 (CC).

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