2 poems by Rahana K. Ismail

These Liveries Within

shelves of cells. 
Should I look at the girl 
and not see the years of days she was bricked in? 
You must know that 
I happen to know 
that her single unhaired eye a walk of lampposts 
pictured along a boulevard 
wherein world was a naïve seashell 
her hairclip what remained after I tried to pry off 
grief insisting place and point
stashed under the neck of Angelica. Have you 
kept count of washing her heel under the faucet 
till the water ran clean and soft and brown
tanned in toils of Mozart and mildew
her hair still clouds into the sky, her sleeves 
flourish in a shredded novel prologue. 
A tungsten thread, that was it.


he said he was eroding into his bedroom wall.
he sounded like a palm civet tail
when I listened. how self-imposition can sublime sky-larks
to creatures hitherto undocumented. 
he saw an eye as a mirror, a trail of frog legs, a tail about to go.
the exponential, I feared, is in the leather mill up the street
or the tea shop he used to walk to
stomping on every snail. to say nothing of the waiting
panicles of newsteafriends. quiescent petals lined 
radially, the more you walk away, the faster you walk into
until the odd boy throws light on
the haystack till it stares back.
tissues of ekphrastic skies swivelling
satellite-born. scattershot pages of a
manuscript pushing back against definiteness.
idiolects shy away from each other
marking exclusionary territories
gnawing at a stook of light in a corner
where he lay, an unbundled stalk of corn
still browning in the centre.

RAHANA K. ISMAIL is a left-hander, a poet, and a doctor from Calicut, Kerala. Her work has been featured in nether Quarterly, Usawa Review, Verse of Silence, EKL Review, the Chakkar, and elsewhere. She can be found at  https://www.instagram.com/ra.ha.na.k.ismail/

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