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Tag: #Surreal

Someday We’ll Remember How We Came Through This Together

Behind us, a rusty, wire fence; under our feet:
dry grass and dust. We were thirsty. Above us
loomed an enormous, leafless tree; it looked as if
it might touch the shivered, June moon. Samir
gestured, or maybe it was Salima, and we all
leaned back and peered into the darkness. We
somehow understood that a piece of the tree, or
the moon, had broken off and was hurtling
towards us—but we had no idea where it might
land, so we just trembled and waited for thunder
and shake—or the end. Later, we tried to count
how many of us were missing. A woman ran
towards us, screaming. She was carrying a small
child in her arms. Only his hand, she sobbed.  
It only took his hand.
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Small Confession

I just finished the story by Perumal Murugan
where a chair comes between a loving couple;
it’s not controversial—

there’s no intercaste marriage or infidelity, 
nothing to offend anyone’s sensibilities 
or to provoke the police, a court, 

or a right wing mob to ban or burn any books, 
or to threaten a mild-mannered author 
with damnation or bodily harm—

there’s just a man, a woman, 
and a chair that slowly drives them apart. 
Of course, the chair is a metaphor 

for patriarchy and other problems 
that inevitably come with modernity—
like the wailing toilet in another 

Murugan story, or this phone I use
to talk with the people I love,
and also to avoid them.

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You Always Dream It Before It Arrives

Sometimes as you drift off
you feel your chest tighten;

your ears ring
and your lungs won’t fill,

like you’ve been shut
in a cold, dark vault,

or you are shackled
and shivering

in a cell somewhere
in Kashmir or Karnataka—

maybe they’ll beat you
if you ask to see the sky

or just because it is time
for the beating.

Lock your doors,
turn off the lights,

do not venture out
after dark.

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We Have Been Here Before

I dreamt that, nearing his end,
my father wrote the story of his life
in the language of his grandmother.

I don’t understand the words,
he told me, but I think you
will find it useful someday—

it has something to do
with the way we lived
in the dark times that came

before these dark times.
It is not easy to remember,
he told me. It has something

to do with scattered light,
and how I love you.

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-December 26, 2019

I dreamed a group of us
were kidnapped by a pair
of sociopaths—

they explained they were
conducting an experiment:
they would blind half of us

in one eye and half of us in both
to see how this would affect
our ability to love.

When I told you, you said:
That’s just a dream about
the leaders of our country.

Later, the owner of a tea shack
handed us an X-ray of a broken foot
and gestured at the half-eaten sun.

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