TWI Poetry: Two Poems

Shamayita Sen

Binary Thoughts

I wake rubbing the night off my eyes. 
Binary thoughts criss-cross in time. 
We exchange pleasantries 
in a mindless daze. 
A world exists in my eardrums. 
I have partial memories to gorge upon: 
my grandfather has invited us to tea, 
I tug at your shirt, run my fingers 
on the pock mark on your forehead—
I feel the intimacy, your moist skin.
When people slip off our lives, 
we remember shadows of them, dead,
like a frayed rising sail of a ship. 
I curl up on your lap, like 
a child’s soft-toy, smooth on the outside, 
but stuffed with rough ends.

You wait with twinkles in your eyes. 
Thoughts running parallel remind me of 
your weathering knuckles, criss-crosses on skin.
Sounds of this world rattle my cage. 
Briefly, memories circle past: 
I blow into a dandelion, you brush off 
a ladybug crawling on my school-shirt, 
iron drips off my nose, profuse, thick, 
vaporizing into summer heat. 
I let sand slip off, visualise shadows 
of friends, lost: like a ship 
unattended for ages, a sea-shore 
of a sunset, sometimes painting the sky, 
sometimes brimming at the coast of your eyes 
seeking a goodbye.

Onset of Autumn

Parakeets populate our sky 
with cries and wonder.
I emerge from a shrouded bedside;

now looking for meaning in 
myself amidst narrow walls 
sketched with hesitancies
bound by night-sky 
melting upon a glass ceiling.

Rain clings onto window panes 
with a voyeur’s gaze upon 
a toddler 
unwilling to wean away.

Leaves of a rain-washed tree
tattoo their shadow on our 
brick-bare doorway that leads 
to a barren home. 
A distant whirring of a radio
playing Rabindra-sangeet all evening 
floats into my mind and makes home 
in a skull bugged with worries. 
Far away, a world crumbles 
under your weight. But you,
unaware of consequences,
tread softly away from 
our shared dream.

And, amidst all this, 
floating cotton clouds 
engulf my autumn sky.

Shamayita Sen, a Delhi based poet and PhD research candidate (Department of English, University of Delhi), is the author of for the hope of spring: hybrid poems (Hawakal Publishers, 2020), and editor of Collegiality and Other Ballads: feminist poems by male and non-binary allies (Hawakal Publishers, 2021). Her poems and research articles have appeared in various national and international avenues. She can be reached at:

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