Indira Reddy

Thamizhpparithi Maari, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

cacophony of daily street life
silenced by a commanding thrum

thoughts freeze,
slip back into
memories
of the deaths,
the grief
that hovers
just beneath
the mundane

it beats again, and again,
falls into a rhythm
hard, ruthless, imposing

thoughts shred to mist
hearts race to throat
primal fear wrings
air from lungs

the drums rage;
the plaintive call
razes the walls
we thought could
withstand tsunamis

cassandraic visions
of our own mortality
overwhelm
the corners of eyes

mere prey, we wait
huddled inside
for silence
for deliverance

the beat slows,
air loses its solidity,
relief beckons

and is shattered…

another drum
screams,
another death
tolls its burden

nameless grief
carves itself a place
into quotidian rhythms
as the drums volley
ceaselessly…

© Indira Reddy 2021

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Photo by author of Nithymalli (a jasmine variety that flowers daily)

in the midst
of a deadening dark
inconducive to reason,
this first bloom
on the first day
of the new year
whole, perfect,
mimics a benediction —
one irrational budding hope
cancelling another irrational fear —
a lifeline grasped
on the edge of sanity,
and thus…life continues…

New year in India generally differs by state. In my home state of Tamil Nadu, it is on 14th April. By a bizarre coincidence, this plant flowered for the first time since I got it two months ago, exactly on the fourteenth; and it shone in the sun, gleaming betwixt the tangled stems like a beacon of hope.

© Indira Reddy 2021

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Denise Jans in Unsplash

written on roughened skin,
ㅤ ㅤa ridged map
ㅤ ㅤof personal history;
written in annealed bones,
ㅤ ㅤpaternal disdain
ㅤ ㅤfractured, inherited history;
written in cringing body,
ㅤ ㅤstrangers pillage
ㅤ ㅤobjectified, nay normalised
written into fractured soul,
ㅤ ㅤstripped rights
ㅤ ㅤpulverising self,
a litany of hurt,
a lifetime of fear,
and yet we pen
words of…
hope

This is a (very late) response to Harper’s prompt — History in Chalkboard

© Indira Reddy 2021

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Jakob Owens in Unsplash

your concern burns
plasma bright,
you find a way,
grab it in fists
permanently clenched,
the path doesn’t matter,
only its existence;
you forge ahead
unheeding
of the words
that stumble across
the surface of my tongue,
eager to play,
to work
with you…
but your eyes
are fixed
to a horizon
i can’t feel,
a goal
i don’t need;
you can(won)’t
be swayed
in your righteous strut,
swathed in the
delusional knowledge
of the purported good
you are doing;
my words stutter,
dissemble ingratitude
in your ears;
affronted,
hurt,
you lash out;
your anger glares
volcano hot;
we remain
blinded…

© Indira Reddy 2021

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Amin Moshrefi in Unsplash (cropped)

i could see it coming
slowly, the awareness grew;
entropy had won,
‘twas sundering time;
the rupture was sudden;
before the sonic boom
of your departure
had reached my ears,
you were lost to sight;
goodbye, wait,
let’s try again

all permutations
of that inmiscible medley
of us and our broken love,
coagulated in my vocal cords,
u n s a i d;
i raised my dependable walls,
barbed, booby-trapped them,
but my emotions,
tortured into monsters,
dug out chunks,
screamed rage,
berated injustice,
profused bouquets
of poisoned vengeance;
i fought them with carbs,
i swayed them with sugar,
i drowned them with spice,
but nothing melted
the block in my throat;
congealed mess
sent creepers
winding down
nerves;
dulling, slowing;
each synapse
talked in treacle;
embogged
blocked
corpus
id
ego
nothing

© Indira Reddy 2021

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Indira Reddy

Indira Reddy

Endlessly fascinated by how 26 simple symbols can say so much…