Poems | Shreya Yadav

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For RH

I stare at you, struck
by your shoulders
speckled brown with dust
from the sun.

Light, water, cedar
the cold Pacific up north.
And on your surfboard, your shoulders
reaching up to the light.

I look at you, wondering
about the brine of your body
the stings of cnidarians and
the salt of kelp on your tongue.

Your shoulders, they peel
like bark in the sun.
When the waves hold you down
I see them flicker against the foam.


I'm not writing a poem about love.

This one is for fruit bats.
Upside-down bats that see the world
inverted, stretch in the twilight, alight,
glide over the canopy
and are gone.

This is also a poem for ghost crabs.
Tonight they can hear me and
they gurgle from the sand.
One of them crawls over my foot.
When I put my ear to the ground
I have to pull back.
The crabs are shouting.

I wonder if you notice, but --
our hands are always wet on this little island.
We stand on the beach in an island of stars.
We run in the long equatorial light of the morning.
We watch bridled terns shadow the sand.

Sometimes, your eyes catch the light.

Far away, there is the steady crash of waves.


The bitter monotony of love
has arrived.

Thoughts can no longer be held

I could be another woman,
another night
another new thing
made old

by the morning's contradiction
of waking up
in your bed
face to the open window.

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