Shefali Upreti | March 8, 2019

Where I live, every December,

swarming flies dive and mill.

For a thousand years the soul remembers

the thrumming wing –

descends, dismembers

chunks of flesh lapped in laughing embers,

and I can’t see past the hill.


Flickering swamp, where I was born,

the metallic hospital at the rim –

of my mind. All these years I mourn

white coats, stethoscope sworn

to the gurney, everyday worn,

and I can’t see past the hill.


Gurgling lake above my head –

old legend that dangles still.

Whipping pigeon wing, turned to lead,

shields city from the sewer dread.

Or, at least, it tries. The small gods said

that I can’t see past the hill.


They pickle their dirty hearts in brine.

All that salt is bound to kill

tears off my salty sclera. Don’t shine,

lovely stars, I don’t mind.

There’s not too much beauty I can find.

And, still –

I can’t see past the hill.


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