Monday, June 9, 2014


From Leeya Mehta's chapbook 'Towers of Silence' (AARK Arts, 2004). 'White' was first published in Fulcrum, 2004.


I sit up in bed in the morning after you’ve smoothed me
Sandpapered me
And look at you
Standing staring at me
With your back to the window.
Stained glass I made lets in dawn.

My hair is long, unmessy
Most of my body is covered with a sheet
Yet I feel naked
As an ancient frozen corpse discovered alive -
Baffled in a new age by the sound of horns
Where once operas of droning land rose from the sea:
The shifting of continents

You did not keep me awake this night; we
Softened my desire
Before I fell asleep. And then you
Stood at the window all night
And you watched car lights, while I
Slept, dreaming of resurrection:
Returning to the sweetest past, a beginning
Before recollection.

I watch my feet on the floor, squeeze them to the tiles
You break your stare and turn away
I walk to you and touch you, you are cold and empty
Like a dead man with a vacuum soul.
What did the world do to you
I want to ask

But instead I hold you close, forgive your
Sins, so deep, so unforgivable
Let us pass into bearing

Bearing pain, each other, bearing children,
Sad, posthumous adults



blue unaerated nails need love
touch that restarts breath


YELLOW, 1957


He brought home a chick
A tennis ball of yellow mirth
That watched him - an artist studying its muse.
It decided, quite like she had once believed,
That he was its perfect father, 

Knowing no better.
She named it Miss Peckpeck even though
He refused to accept this Anglicised obviousness
And called it Sakubai just like he had named
Every one of her dolls. Blonde and brunette.
Miss Peckpeck knew that he was the head of the
House. Something she was beginning to resist at five and a half
Seeing no rationality in his whippings.
His Sakubai greeted him after work at the
Front door every evening at six.
Five inches tall it couldn’t hug him
So it made up by running with eager concentration at his heel
Like a pom pom on his sock.
He had to be careful, one wrong step and it was
Sakubai the chick with grievous damage to its
Chuffed out chest
It needed time to gauge distances
Nor did it like to be left out of after dinner
Kisses and demanded its own sleeping arrangements.
He rocked it into chicken dreams in his handkerchief,
Its golden fuzz quivering in the breeze.
Sakubai terminated its childhood four weeks after its arrival.
It wanted to know what lay inside a shallow bucket
Used to soak socks in, fell over and drowned.

Concussion followed by ingestion of water, she was told, years
Later, in her thirties. On the day of the drowning she had
Returned from Saturday school
And he said that Sakubai had been sent to a farm
Where she would be free with her own kind.
He wanted her childhood to be innocent -
Without the grief of Miss Peckpeck’s
‘Curiosity killed the cat’ story.
“Five and a half, too young for death,” her father said,
“I wanted to protect you.”
She said, “You knew about it and still you didn’t do anything?”
“There you go,” he said. She explained, shouting, “There was a
Watchman with black encrusted nails in school who took me
Into a classroom every break. I was five then, not
Five and a bloody half.”
“Can’t you talk softly?” he said. “Must you always make
Your point? You’ve turned this house into a fish market.”
Their fights started like that, freak bullets that always missed
His heart, and came from hers.



At the river’s soft purring trembling heart
We shared our secrets, our cold soot secrets.

The river listened and when we rose to go
It wept white opaque tears, bruising its agate limbs.

I remember this river, fifty years have passed.
But you, you have twisted my secrets into a conspiracy —

I have inherited insanity and this blue-veined madness is
Our children’s heirloom.



What colour is a scream?


From Leeya Mehta's chapbook 'Towers of Silence' (AARK Arts, 2004). 'White' was first published in Fulcrum, 2004.