Land: Bone / Ocean: Muscle | Sneha Subramanian Kanta

$ 7.00

Sneha Subramanian Kanta has been awarded the first Vijay Nambisan fellowship (2019). She is the Charles Wallace Fellow 2019-20 at The University of Stirling. A GREAT scholarship awardee, she has earned her second postgraduate degree in literature from England. She is the founding editor of Parentheses Journal and reader for Palette Poetry and Tinderbox Poetry Journal.

 Under ocean

bellies, aqua-green plants bloom & fold their bodies. The ocean is full muscle. A funeral house. Bones bury beyond its epidermis & decompose partially. Certain unbearable things are left at the brink of an ocean: like a solitary baby shoe. Who is to say whether land is made holy by small feet or small feet are holy until there is a land to place them on? The ocean swallows the sun like vast fields of poppies sprout out of barren land & the sky dissolves into black. We breathe abstractions that is the ether. It offers itself piece by piece as a companion for our midnight psalms. Our throats are thick with the promise of water. We forget what it is to be mortal under a warm night. The ocean fans our sweat in breezes that flow as swiftly as one may cross continents. The waxing gibbous looks like a seedless white grape & a child wants to eat it. A fullness clutches the ocean & lightning cracks the sky open as a walnut seed. We are buried under a tar roof & the face of mercy is dual: undying things & people.


This night is a lost black book. The name of our beloveds left back prick our tongues as shards of glass. We learn to make everything edible & chew on it. In the journey from earth to elsewhere, it takes seventy days to be mummified. Anubis & Thoth are absent from the sky. We, along with our gods of resurrection breathe into the ocean. Our bodies are sixty percent water & the ocean is second to blood flow. We hear soft gurgles of the ocean & share bread with the gulls overhead. The ocean rises like yeast in our minds. My mother says the dead come to visit as birds & are never to be unfed. Never mind our hunger, our bodies that turn waiflike, or desolation.


Halfway before dawn we see little red boats speckle over a part of the ocean & the rising sun. All that dies comes back in another form. We hold the promise of tomorrow on our lips. The ocean has made us forget all language. Everything calls out to us: the fields, the land. Surrender, surrender. We again make fugitives of ourselves. One vein of our body remembers & always flows into the ocean.