Veena Kumar: Boundary Between Worlds

Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash
After Blackberrying, by Sylvia Plath: Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries…

Nobody on the roof, and nothing, nothing but sky.
Apartments on either side, topped with clotheslines, the upside-down 
shirts and shorts still and flat as a drawing.

Somewhere in the distance, I imagine the fields of farmers—
cows grazing on grass not garbage, goats bleating as they cross
country roads, bells ringing, dogs nursing their yelping puppies.

Over here the pneumatic drill trills and trills all day long amidst 
the occasional shouts. The barred windows of our apartment below
let in nearly everything: garlic frying, birds tweeting, pressure cookers whistling.

The ladder on the roof leads to the top of the water tank. 
From down here it seems a ladder to the sky, 
to freedom.

The black kites know the feeling. One, two, three of them
play and dance on the wind, making circles in the sky,
cawing in disjointed symphony.

A fluffy crow alights on a bare branch of the neem tree.
Alchi barks and stares at her in deep black colour kinship. 
Perhaps she is jealous of her flight?

The African tulip is in full bloom, heavy orange blossoms falling
like towels on the road. Their fruit, when stepped on, squirting
in childish delight.

The trees are no different that they have ever been,
their roots still holding them firmly to the ground.

Veena Kumar grew up in Canada, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and currently lives in Bangalore with her husband and dog. She writes poetry, teaches math, and runs an expressive writing club at her school. She loves being a part of a community of writers and has co-founded and been a long-term member in several writing groups over the years, in Kingston, Toronto and Bangalore.


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