Your hands remind me of magic fountains
Tucked away in the corner
Of a forgotten tourist town.
Civilization has succumbed
To the outgrowth of wilderness here.
Ornaments of untamed creepers
Have locked the crumbling buildings
In their unyielding embrace.
Your hands, with their time worn edges
And mossy sculptures,
Still pluck melodies out of thin air.
I was an accidental visitor in that town.
Lost, parched and desirous of dreams,
My soul was teeming with longing.
I wandered through the dilapidated buildings,
Sleeping sentinels of a dying evening,
Of a dying age,
Of a dying heartbeat
Still barely throbbing
To the rhythm in my jugular.
I wasn’t seeking grace. Not here.
Not in the shadows of the forgotten,
The valley of Death.
When I chanced upon your broken stone edges,
All I wanted was a bit of water –
An extension to my life.
I bathed in your ravenous tide,
Knowing that you too would run dry someday.
The coins at your base flashed against my feet,
Like copper birds,
Like silver fishes,
Escaping the net.
I didn’t have coins to offer,
So I threw myself in.
Your hands remind me of magic fountains.
I know how they grant unspoken wishes
And weave spells into moonbeams.
But your eyes have always been
My favourite part of you.
They call to the sparrows
Asleep in my rib cage
And promise them release.
I get nervous
When you see with your hands though.
For I know that
Those dandelion fingers
Can weave longing into skins like cold sea beds.
I have been drowning for an eternity.
The Birth of Venus
There were mermaids
In the oysters that trailed behind you
When you emerged from the sea at dawn.
I whispered, as I tried to comb away the memories
Of the aquamarine nights
From your misty tresses.
Your amaranthine eyes
Caressed my numb skin
And smiled, “Why not Venus?”
Your nubile embraces
Like the defiant glow
Of a firefly,
Who refused to yield to Nyx.
As you started swaying to
The incantations of Zephyr,
My body, in your arms yielded to your gentle motion.
I remembered the naked lovers
From my mother’s Tarot deck.
“It is not love that you receive,
But compatible silence,” she had said,
Before she took the card out into the garden
And buried it under a sapling, a magnolia tree.
My little bird feet,
Would water it every day,
For a soul, who could weave symphonies,
Out of shared silence.
I peeped up at you and mused,
“Are we dancing to silence?”
You tilted your primrose smile
Up to the fading stars and invoked the Universe,
“We are dancing to the music of the constellations.”
My soul howled.
Echo had lost her body
For a love she could never hold.
And I have surrendered mine
To my necromancer lover.
Between a rueful smile
And the memory of a fire,
I remembered why my mother
Had thrown her Tarot deck
From the cliff, into the sea
It was the year of the Famine
And the mermaids
No longer cared for food
Or the future.
About the Poet
Sreeja Mitra is currently studying literature at Friedrich-Schiller University while working as a student researcher at Max Plank Institute for the Science of Human History, located in a tiny student town call Jena, tucked away in a quiet corner of Germany. She is a linguist who refused to forsake the poetry in literature. Indian by birth, but a global citizen in spirit, She loves to travel, and is forever searching for quiet corners to curl up with a book or make memories with strangers and immortalize them through her words.