4 poems

by Sneha Subramanian Kanta

4 poems

Ode to Bees



Give me the heart of a child that flutters as a bee. My heart is presently an evening in November—full of shadows. I leave ​​ the apartment with a sense of excesses— foliage sputtered on rooftops &​​ on the ground. Even the moon, rising early, smears the sky into a shade of foggy white. My heart fills gaps like the silver amalgam inside a cavity. It wants to believe & resurrect. There is a little gap in-between the roof & chimney where the teal sky spills in, agape at its fullness, the​​ way

an egg yolk separates in yellow from its white & translucent counterparts. I cannot name the dead flowers I collect on the walk. I know they swell like a bruised heart when kept in water. Today the sun grants us mercy by showing up in gaps between trees. I cannot contain it all but grow in large multitudes. I hear the​​ restless

hum of bees as I lay on the tall grass beside cedars and lilacs. The night is a lengthier punctuation than day, in its enormity.

Everything connects to the fiber of flesh, its pulse & throb as bees leap onto a​​ sunset. The next best thing after the heart of a child are bees, in their orbits of​​ motion.




after Philip Metres



I rested on green grass  ​​ ​​​​ chewed mint leaves  ​​ ​​​​ became something borrowed the color of spring ​​ heard five gunshots & fell on the ground  ​​​​ as a leaf thwarted​​ into​​ soilas​​ foliagefor lightning to strike to take​​ root


I have​​ watched​​ bodies   float​​ downstream  in the bloodied river through​​ milkweed​​ fields  & dreamt​​ of​​ howsoil, ether, & water metamorphosed​​ into​​ harvestroot​​ to​​ stemas​​ remnantsof the same​​ breath


I​​ heard​​ cartographersmake maps& stuck the end​​ product

on tree barks ​​ & dreamt that veins​​ of​​ wood  coaxed them to open into rivers without​​ borderlinesskin​​ as​​ sapfluid &​​ namelessas our​​ flesh


I saw shrapnel  ​​ ​​ ​​​​ & dead bodies returned to earth  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ ​​ a​​ blurthe lost​​ fog​​ heavier & soaked​​ in​​ rain  as a forgotten​​ language folded into crumples thwarted​​ into​​ soilas​​ foliagefor lightning to strike to take​​ root


as​​ earth​​ itselfweaved​​ in​​ stitchesblue irises blue cornflowers ​​ blue sea when I said​​ dead​​ bodiesI meant the trees they​​ grew​​ intoa patch of land with wounded limbs like calipers​​ ​​ a​​ shorelinea buried garden covered with​​ maps






Father / Today I speak to you / in a language / akin to lightness / as though a row / of red butterflies / prance inside my belly / like an unborn child / You too / were born / crying &​​ puking

/ the gutters of heaven / on earth / descending like a feather​​ / from mauve sleets / of dawn / Your mother bled / like all mothers bleed / once the umbilical cord / is cut / You once said / your birth brought a flood / with needle shaped raindrops / A birth is never liminal / but occupies all​​ quarters

/ The smallest part of your brain / is where something holy / resides: / a combination of all childhood memory / fields of / rice / sugarcane / wheat / barley / cows & buffaloes tilling soil / the red light / of dawn / and tomato plants / lined like sisters braided together / When I say father

/ I see a young boy / scatter red seeds / into the brown soil / I see a bouquet / of tomatoes / strung like guitar chords / A crescendo / pushing over the surface / for birth / & utterance / for red / to scatter over fields / like diphthongs / preserved with symphony notes / for earth.

Three Observations During a Brief Long-Distance Call







What I see from this window are houses, in their swarm of linearity. Green and black dustbins lined outside like two-gendered children. The world separates. Night coagulates. The most secret part of my sorrow is covered like the ocean, sheen of leaves, & the sky.





This city with remnants of war. Roads drunk with an overcharge of streetlights. I smell the ocean’s combustion from the window. Inhale the sulphur of post-rain air. The town dissolves inside my body like crumbs, as the slow release of paracetamol into the liver.





The earth is closing itself like a butterfly on us. That’s what I imagine when I think of you as I describe what I see outside the window. The night is bilingual. Its jaws open everywhere. The night is strong in its taxidermy on earth. The parts-dark, parts-bleached.

About the Author

Sneha Subramanian Kanta is a recipient of The Charles Wallace Fellowship at the University of Stirling (2019). A GREAT scholarship awardee, she has earned her second postgraduate degree in literature from England. She is the founding editor of Parentheses Journal and reader for Palette Poetry and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. She is the author of Land: Bone / Ocean: Muscle (forthcoming with dancing girl press).

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#thesideshow| Micro-poetry| October 2019