Poetry | ‘August 15th’ & ‘Venerable’ by Anvesh Jain

August 15th

Independence. Azaadi. Meaning
Yours to you, and mine to me.

Azaadi. To sit in Whitehorn
Beneath photos of Golden Temple.
To imagine Lahore and Amritsar
In fragmented sunset. Grandpa tells

Of a sister cut open on the midnight train.
Curved talwars, the dreamlike screams.

Azaadi. To wilt like flowers
In red October. Petals severed
From the stem. Inevitable violence,
Suicide and martyrdom.

Question time in Canadian creole,
Tongue tied by garlands of syllables.

Azaadi. To ask about letters
From Delhi. Letters from Punjabi Bagh.
Lacerations from fighter kites, on
Patang flyers and freedom fighters.

Seventy year hangover. Whir of
Ceiling fan. Partition backwash.

The DNA of Azaadi.
Maratha armies on the march.
A sickly emperor trapped at Red Fort.
The Rani Jhansi, Rock of Gwalior.

Principles of Revolution Indica.
Self-rule, exalted, on Independence Day.


Venerable

Cheap bowls tend towards recursion
When sagged with the fat bodies
Of mango and blackberry.
In lieu of regular delights,
Fruit-flesh of occident and orient
Are gored in multicultural tandem.

Progressives could paint a mosaic
Between gnashed teeth,
In medium pulp-and-fresco—red river rivulets
Bathe this looking skull on the prairie.
Grass-itch and crabapples by the back porch
Make ample company for onanist instinct.

At a time, the dripping bulbs are disinterred
By a heart that mocked, and a
Hand that fed. Purple-tart fields an
All-terrain of its own, flushed in
Nuclear orange and yellow thrush.
The natural gravities of southern Alberta
Lie further south still.

Good boys are taught alright
To suck the skin clean; to worship
Individual hairs on the scalp’s sweet altar.
Perceived waste was a sin
For the less grateful only.
Sadhus waltz in Bowness,
Fractals spiral towards Lethbridge
On the tongue felt barrier between mangos
And blackberries.

Years hence, the inspired 21st-century
Bodhisattva might restock the sublime perfection of grocers
Atop the fetid bloom of blood clot and spitseed.
Meanwhile, the aphid children of insects
Make love amongst the retch.


Anvesh Jain is an undergraduate student of International Relations at the University of Toronto. His work has previously been published in the Literary Review of Canada, the London Reader, Adelaide magazine, and Vayavya. He is an Associate Editor at the Hart House Review. Visit his website for more information: https://anveshjain.com/.

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