“Lizard” and Other Poems

Translated from Hindi by Karan Kapoor


I knew an old woman who’d come and sit
on the broken bench of the park everyday.

Like old tangled thread
occupying as little space as she can
she sits on the bench contained in herself
nurturing the entire cosmos inside her.

Her smile never finds her whole face,
the way her sadness never touches her eyes.
Can she be touched?
Can the deep cracks of her face
be peeked into?

She needs no one.
Then why does a leaf fall and find her lap?
Why is the lizard a witness to her being?
I see the poem of a lizard sitting on a dried leaf
that she has nurtured inside her like an old banyan.


right behind you

Each time I have offered myself
to you
like an open book

I lay opened scattered
at times on your knees
at times on your lashes
sometimes right behind you

now the small collection of me
after having been scattered,
from what I was to who I am
lives at once

maybe you read me
after I leave
at times on your knees
at times on your lashes

But what about the I
who once lay scattered
right behind you?

In hopes he must still lay there
I collect myself again
and come back to you again
and again

again and again
and each time I leave
a little of my self—
right behind you


remains of the house

the house falls in front of the eyes
to rescue it the closer we get
the further it seems to be falling

we can only witness in its rising dust
the making and breaking of faces

where wrinkles of the faces begin
and where cracks of the house end—
the line keeps getting blurred

when he was collecting his mother’s bones
from the ashes, there he also found

the remains of his house