Barnali Ray Shukla - The king would send his men

In another time, in another life, they would call those embers, eyes.

Eyes that spoke in bold italics,
brimming with kohl
kohl that wore silence,
bore songs like vapours
of your breath on linings
of silver that held clouds
of doubt in my breast-
the king would send his men.

Men to tie his queens to a role
between Mondays and Fridays,
wet days and dry days,
her days and my days,

But we were a country
with no borders, molten stories
with no frays
bare in our layers of wraps,
before the king scored with us
on torn jasmines of our tiara.

His men nailed our sway, in ways
they tore our faith but we flourished
as we wore cyanide inside us, no
we didn’t die, we mapped a country

We belong to each other, in another time, in another life.



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