Sharanya Manivannan

Three Poems

Tesserae

And if in some other life I loved you in a house of terracotta and mirrors then that is the one I invoke in the long afternoons when I move between the balcony and the birdcage, hanging concertinaed lanterns in the space between our last encounter and the one that will never come. You appear in my dreams tinted in selenium, smoking cheroots, ophidian, with a weakness for white horses. Each time, I place in your palm a mustard seed, a diadem of orange jasmine, and you reenter me like a nail, the hammer of your presence upraised to the porcelain of my life. See how I make and remake it: sifting through the site of my own desecration for tesserae, eternally reassembling the mosaic of the heart.

Prelude

Once, I loved a man with more hearts than a bloodshed of barbutes. I loved a man with more hearts than a crescendo of cathedrals. I loved a man with more hearts than a sequence of silphium seeds. I loved a man with more hearts than a conspiracy of cordate leaves. I loved a man with more hearts than an epiphany of earthworms. Once, I loved. I loved I loved I loved. I loved a man. And then I loved some more.

Nocturne

And although my past is cluttered with almanacs, tonight I cannot tell if the moon that will rise amidst the twigs of the tree that stands between your window and the sea will be a heavy one, like the vermillion orb that adorns the forehead of the sky this evening as it creases into twilight. I am crossing a bridge bearing sweetmeats, birdsongs, all the tools of tomorrow’s aubade, a single salmon-coloured gerbera ferocious at my ear. The river won’t let me out of its sight, like my father or my old lover, with his face like a raincloud and crescents of broken bangles falling from his shaking wrists in the last memory I have kept of him. If it is true that contained within each revelation is the moment of its inversion, then I have already divined your withdrawal, and I carry it with me also, my palms wet with desire and all that will be and all that is written. So much can happen on a night in which nothing has been promised. At your threshold, at the cusp of this world, I open my hand, release all knowledge of future or fate. I enter your arms a rondure of abeyance, a moon that bears no trace of teethmarks.

Sharanya Manivannan was born in India in 1985. Her first book of poems was Witchcraft (2008). Her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in Drunken Boat, The Nervous Breakdown, Superstition Review, Killing The Buddha, Pratilipi, Dark Sky Magazine and elsewhere. Sharanya can be found online at www.sharanyamanivannan.com.