Kushal Poddar – ‘Jitters’, ‘Chores’



My nails quiver. I debark myself on a bench left alone in the pestilence.

Wind lifts its leg, licks and steriles itself. 


My mother drowned me in the last plague

to save me from fever and hunger.

I learned – to live one must demise;

to fulfill one must empty all promises

in a valise, bury them before the authority arrives.


Wind smells disinfected. Reticence breaks quarantine.

I devour my nails, and they resurrect

as if those can nourish me through

this birth of happenstance. This birth, a solitaire,

I should hide before the turn of the time robs it again.


Wind stares at me and wanders away.

“Mother.” I murmur. A siren patrols the silence.

If they ask me I should say, “Esurience

has not visited me nor the sickness.

Jai ho. Long live. Make the thinning great again.”






The humdrum of humble chores

hunted by us both 

because the syllables, 

stressed and unstressed, of gardening,

dusting, washing, doing the dishes

or fluffing those instruments of sleep

lullabies our nervous system.


“Which song did your great grandparents

sing during the old pestilence?”

You shake your head. The scattered music

migrated to the concentration camp of Lethe.


During shoveling snow that swirls 

to sheath

the ground beneath for the first time since

the glacial maximum I discover

my grandmother’s canticle – half ember,

half skeletal, some canary’s bones

asleep in its circle.

Kushal Poddar is the author of ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals, Understanding The Neighborhood’, ‘Scratches Within’, ‘Kleptomaniac’s Book of Unoriginal Poems’, ‘Eternity Restoration Project – Selected and New Poems’ and now ‘Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse – A Prequel’ (Alien Buddha Press). amazon.com/author/kushalpoddar_thepoet | https://twitter.com/Kushalpoe