Dear Dark – Smriti Ravindra



Dear Dark,

After you come upon my bed from windows and doors

Rising like vapour from the grass

And after I fall asleep

The pillow melts under my ears

And Mamma quietly steps out of the room

To finish work on the computer,

Or to watch TV because I don’t let her

All day.


Dear Dark,

you are different

For Mamma and for me.  Your blackness is different after she leaves.

In your foggy blackness, there are thieves

that float above the streets

And sit on sidewalks

With eyes like owls that are too large and watchful

And heads like fish

That must forever swim lest they forget who they are.


Dear Dark,

In your foggy blackness

Thieves turn to mist

And come upon my bed from windows and doors.

Grilles on windows

Cannot stop them.  Guards on the gates

Cannot stop them.  Perhaps Mamma

Cannot stop them.  But the dark is different

When she is in it.  Your dark is lighter

When she is in it.


Dear Dark,

But some nights Mamma pulls me to her

And holds me too tight.

I feel her stiffen with fear

Against the ghosts slithering under our sheet

Though the dark is different for her and for me.



This poem is from the series Dear So-and-So.


Smriti Ravindra is a high school English teacher teaching a bunch of hyper-active, hyper-happy students. She writes to maintain sanity. She has co-authored a full-length book with Annie Zaidi, A Bad Boy’s Guide to a Good Indian Girl (Zubaan, 2011). Her short stories have featured in several publications including La.Lit, 42 Magazines, The Westerly Magazine, and Out of Print. She is a regular contributor to a column in The Kathmandu Post – an English newspaper in Nepal.