Boundaries by Ajanta Paul

There is a great frontier
To conquer
Perhaps, not great
By the world's standards
But in my series of boundaries
It's one that yields discoveries
As it shatters the glass into shards.

For me to walk through the jagged opening,
Past the stream by the estate,
The world of picket fences
Between neighbours' lawns,
Past the contentious curvatures
Of myths in the making,
And labels that enclose and inhibit
The essential fluidity of the self.

To the beginning of the end
Or, is it the end of a beginning?
Where identities coalesce
Into an accommodation of otherness-s
Hybrid, hyphenated, hydra-headed possibilities
Spring from the cave
Into the sunlight,
Foraging for sustenance and forging a trail.

The name of Phyllis Wheatley comes to mind,
Female African slave
Who fought against all these containing metaphors,
To take her place at the source and head
Of numerous traditions, establishing markers
One could scarcely have contemplated.
A painful evolution, returning to roots in order to bloom,
And from the margins truly come home.

DR. AJANTA PAUL is an academic based in Kolkata who writes poetry, short stories and literary criticism. Ajanta’s work has been published in journals including Spadina Literary Review, The Pangolin Review, Shot Glass Journal, Poetic Sun, The Bombay Review and The Statesman. She has authored 10 books.  Ajanta’s poems and short stories have appeared in seminal anthologies including The Kali Project: invoking the Goddess within/Indian Women’s Voices. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2020. 

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