Sudhanshu Chopra


       .For Bob

The season of cascade,
of midrib, vein, leaf

after leaf
catching fire—

olive turning
to orange

of burning

of torn cartilage:
the season of falling

on the old hip,
of the bruise’s

its raging spread

across the thigh,
its stoking

the operated knee’s


But this, also the season
of letting go

of the deciduous

of piling each time
while starting to stand,

of burying the flaming
ambition to walk

in brown earth’s douse.

Patch of light

The incandescent sheds a cone of leaf-yellow.
Not every foliage obscures the soil troughs;

some cast-off illuminate the ground’s dark
undulations the way penance is done—

bare-chested, of own accord, fully
believing that you sinned in drifting against

the tungsten wire’s resistance, and so now
you must lie— supine, condemned to trample,

beseeching the straying feet to watch out, for
gravity does not succeed unless the body wants to fall.

A scavenger learns to fly

What buoys you:
drowning’s fear,

that what still
drifts silently

beneath. You
advance, spry

like polythene.
The distraction

helps, the
constant poking—

wood, plastic,
metal— underfoot

making you

what you walk
upon: water,

almost solid,

with city waste.
Now that you

are stable,
you dig heels

in the garbage
swamp. As you

stoop to forage
a bird-bone-

hollow gasket,
you expect

to snap out

of the shoulder


Sudhanshu Chopra‘s bio has been removed at the poet’s request.