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Priya Sarukkai-Chabria

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Priya Sarukkai Chabria

Grey Treepie, Tawang. Photo by Nitoo Das


When you want your life to lift
away like a wind –ignited
dandelion head
till you're stalk thrusting
out of rock, you know
He's the breeze that's blowing
too high

When you are beached
a mother -of-pearl shell full
and hollow with ache
and you spiral, lose
footing & fall
you know He's
the hiss in your ear

When you open your maw
to swallow the night, when you
can't sleep no matter what, when
your fever doesn't show
on the thermometer
you know He's the mercury

When you dream of crystal
exploding within, when your body is
veined with light , when you know
less is more
but not enough
hear His laughter explode
the dazzle


monsoon nocturn
--for my mother

rows of pearled
windows set in wet twilight

a nimbus of ruby
roses crowns the pewter jar

ma's face silvers
behind rain
-hung spider webs

(first published in Sumana Roy's column in The Guardian)

Travels in Bundelkand in early spring

Jain temple at dusk

Against a stony sky the hill shapes
into the temple's crumbling face

of worship that is touched
by something not of this world.

Those who excavated this desolate
soil toiled to create the same elusive

enrichment for their broken
lives on earth as we who journey

here seeking enchantment. Through
soft sinking darkness faint stars bubble: far

worlds that hymn their entrapment
and rapture.

(first published in The Indian Quarterly)

Questions, Statements, Lamentation

Not a ripple. Immersed in an endless
ocean of serenity what more is there to seek?
I negate this negation. I'm the clouded
breath of beings who aspire
to grace; unknown to themselves
their hearts yearn to mirror my dissolved reflection

I'm river, wisdom, language's
intoxication & fact. I'm the unsaid
&the unsayable; the concept, the uttered &
the interpreted. I gifted a drop of myself
to all creatures. I heard them speak, shuddered &
dived underground as source of silent hymns

Much is said about me.
I'm described, metaphorized,
philosophized about ad naseum. But I'm drop
of water that appears precariously
from nothing but air. I hang
on things. Show me light & I'll disappear

(first published in Kindle magazine)


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