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Poetry • New Writing Vol. 3

The Dead End

The Dead End, illustration by Kavisha Dharia

Lushed into view, trees
in a clump of accusal. To test my apparatus
I asked traffic
policemen where to go next, and was asked
to wipe the sweat from my eyes.

The afternoon smeared
its extinction on my palm, but your voice
was a god of that season
resident in my skull’s earnest
shrine. A gentle one, and that old trick
of speaking wholly to whatever listens.

The chords a skein trapping my wrists and ankles.

I rewinded through a city unmapped
and unmade. I had to return
to a place that had not been birthed
in the honeycomb of your throat, I had
to walk away naked
from the tattoo that curfewed my suit of skin.

Like every other time, I couldn’t crawl
into your first verse
or your second,
your bridge or your chorus. In your falsetto
was my exile, a body orphaned into air. Little god,
I ventriloquised your consonants, was swept
along a stage not even the rain
would touch.

I walked somewhere, I was walked there.
I was waiting on the middle eight.
I was waiting on your breath
that had travelled so far to charge me.

I was waiting for the song you couldn’t possibly know.

Ishita Basu Malik
Ishita lives in the city still mostly known as Calcutta, India. She publishes her comics and drawings on her blog and takes her favourite albums out for long walks.
Kavisha Dharia
Kavisha is a graphic designer who thinks like a fine artist. Besides communicating visually, she writes eloquently and, true to her name, rhymes often and with passion.

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