Three Fragments: On Apocalypse

Matsya-nyaya*

office LEDs paint the shoal a flimsy silver

their hearts have sprouted tiny chains of serrated teeth

and you cannot tell the veins from maggots

ghoul-fish wrap steel-grey suits, corporate jargon

lap blood off each other’s necks, smiling, singing-

Sweet Ganges, run softly** …

… plastic, dead fish-bones, breast implants

old wigs, shoe soles, chocolate wrappers

diesel chimeras, shimmering front axles …

in silicon wastelands, big fish eat the small fish

and small fish would not hesitate

to tear big ones in confetti,

given a chance.

* Matsya Nyaya (Sanskrit: मात्स्यन्याय; IAST: mātsyanyāya) is an ancient Indian philosophy which refers to the principle of the Law of Fish. It is described as the fundamental law of nature explained by the proverb of the big fish devouring the smaller fish, hence strong devour the weak. [Source: Wikipedia]

** derived from ‘Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.’ [Source: ‘Prothalamion’ by Edmund Spencer]

Kali-yuga*

beneath blood, yesternight’s light bulb splinters,

her back bore a host of mustard seed moles,

mauled.

I have known her in every corner of the city-

a singular, a multitude-

brown calves lathered with coconut grease

thwaking turmeric sarees to pulp under taps

frying curry leaves amid odd clangs of steel

between shapes and shadows, breasts and blood,

cobwebs and coal, yearning and regret

silhouettes searching for pigeons lost in dark

tell me again, how many men were there last night?

*The Kali Yuga, in Hinduism, is the fourth and worst of the four yugas (world ages) in a Yuga Cycle, preceded by Dvapara Yuga and followed by the next cycle’s Krita (Satya) Yuga. It is believed to be the present age, which is full of conflict and sin. [Source: Wikipedia]

Mithoon-rashi*

love, summer stretches on the porch

but the sparrows have not returned

we sleep like frozen fish in Sun

till dawn turns grapewine mauve

our only way to return

flaps on taut telephone lines

devoid of bird-feet

we have hidden under childhood dreamscapes

for too long- crayon squares, wedge mountains -

a mother, a father, a boy, a girl, a dog

we made slow love at dawn and our hearts

scream silence like dumb haywire sparrows

what now? what else? what more?

we drown

wrapped in deadlock

we’ve forgotten how to touch each other

*The Zodiac Sign, Gemini.

Originally published as: Three Fragments Of Apocalypse | Madras Courier

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Ritoshree Chatterjee

Ritoshree Chatterjee

Ritoshree Chatterjee pursues her undergraduate degree in English literature and struggles to locate herself through writing amidst the chaos.