E-ISSN 2457-0265


Vol. 5 Issue 1

Sharmila Ray

The Dry Shadows of March


The dry shadows of March have histories inside it.

God has disappeared down empty streets and shuttered shops.

The whole city is a gothic zigzag of grey and more grey,

and sometimes a filigree of yellow superimposes on the pattern.

Now the Neem talks to the Banyan ripping apart its petrol smeared gag

and the birds have a field day.

But it seems a pity that the real world is virtual-crisp and definite

under  some fairy’s moon-cold spell.


From childhood we have heard about the seven  wonders of the world,

All man- made. Like me many others have added rockets to their list.

By risking everything we have forgot that the stars do not belong to us.

The universe penetrates and burns

and we are just fleshy dollops

sliding and slipping on earth’s skin.





New Dawn


In retrospect our handshake that afternoon in February

was a wind tossed chocolate.

The interval between holding and letting go of your hand

was an unwritten work of fiction.

Lunch was laid around a small vase with sunflowers

and the distance between two chairs was insignificant.

The flowers were stretching to touch your eyelids

and I mastered enough self confidence

to make the dictionary of everydayness normal…


Tonight I stare at the pink moon trying to visualize the

space beyond seven heavens, quarantined in my flat.

Like papa Plato I prefer introspection.

In between I wash my hands a hundred times.

In between the memory of our entwined fingers pops up.

It seems surreal like Magritte’s painting.


I don’t want to imagine that our next handshake will be bone dry

accompanied by drops of sanitizer. Fragile fingertips trembling,

our gloved hands hardly registering the warmth.

The facemask will bar the flowers stretching to touch

your eyelids.


In the meantime I am looking at Matisse’s painting--le bonheure de vivre,

hydrated by cadmium and intense unmodulated colours.

Let the interval between isolation and anticipation turn to invisible plaited bond.

And when the Universe stops raining tears

the sky azure-lilac,

we shall hold hands again

once again we will hold hands

once again…






Sentences with liquid words debate within my head all night

trying to find new harmonies and chords.

The warm-veined alphabets meditate with other alphabets

within the organ pipes and steeples of my mind

in search of new words.


I watch curiously,

soft-hard words gathering into

the depths of other words,

purple cluster of sentences

gliding through my thoughts

trying to capture

unpublished manuscripts.

About the Poet

Sharmila Ray is a poet and non-fiction essayist, writing in English and anthologized and featured in India and abroad. Her poems, short stories and non-fictional essays have appeared in various national and international magazines and journals. She is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of History at City College, Kolkata. She has authored nine books of poetry. She conducted poetry workshops organized by British Council, Poetry Society of India, Sahitya Akademi. She is the Vice-president of Intercultural Poetry and Performance Library. She has been reading her poems in India and abroad. Her poems have been translated into Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, Slovene, Hebrew and Spanish. Currently, she is working on a manuscript of non-fictional essays. She may be contacted at

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Published by The Alternative.