आज़ादी विशेषांक / Freedom Special

अंक 13 / Issue 13

My tongue went black: Nakul Krishna

Art: Samia Singh

Two Poems in Modern Styles


Neck deep in beach sand

A morning prank gone evening sour

Who are these strangers walking

towards me from the horizon?

Crustaceans, perhaps

Vanguard for the rising tide.



Those who know to read

the language of the almanacs

know to expect eclipses,

know to expect eclipses

to pass. To those who know

to read the language of

the almanacs, the midday dark

comes punctual, no surprise,

predictable as dusk, as dawn.

Two Poems in Mediaeval Styles


My eyes went out

from staring too long at Him

Yet the clobber

of His departing hooves

went tlot-tlot in my ears

and I did not complain


My ears were deafened

from listening too long

to His reproaches

Yet the flavours

of His evening torso

lay sweet, lay bitter,

against my tongue

and I did not complain


My tongue went black

from naming Him too often,

Yet His scents sat rank

in the noontime air

and I did not complain


My breath was smothered

from breathing too much of Him

Yet His heart kept beating

warmly against mine

and I did not complain


My body burns away

from feeling Him hot

against my skin too long

but I do not complain

He is mine alone

while He singes me



I have no bathing things, I whimper, frantic.

There’s no one else about, He says. And what

have you got to hide from me anyway?


It’s cold, I cry. And dirty. Only for

the first few seconds, He assures me. Look –

I’ve found us a nice clean spot here. But I


can barely swim. You can swim well enough.

I’ve been watching you practise when you thought

no one was looking. Will you save me if


I drown? I’ll try if you will let me. Out

of pretexts, I undress, gauche under His

impassive gaze – how quite absurd to ask


Him please to look away. All gooseflesh in

the morning cold, I leap. I gasp. It’s cold,

it’s colder even than I feared. Just for


a moment, I can’t see Him anywhere.

I try a stroke, I fail, I have a cramp.

I scream, I sink, I sink, I drown, I drown.


I do not feel his arms about me pulling

me back onto the bank, but know the ground

beneath us is solid, and dry except


for clumps of dewy grass, and know those to

be lips, His lips, above my own, and that

a face, His face, dark, blue, but not from cold.


I cough, I wetly splutter, tease: if all

you wanted was to kiss me, you should just

have asked.

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