Sample Poems:

Shekhar Aiyar

Night Train to Delhi 

Pale stabs of light whirl swiftly by
and weave among the flashing trees.
The chugging motion underthigh
half lulls the nervous heart to ease.


The carts and trucks that nightly go
between two rising walls of scree,
the distant mountains, crouched and low,
are glimpsed but momentarily.


Sine-waving stars assume the speed
registered by my northbound train.
All other things contract, recede,
some laggard, some in frantic vein.


Each farm, each road, each ghost-white brook,
approaches, fills, then falls behind
the square of glass through which I look
as on the sleepless axles grind.


The moon -- tree-splintered, weightless -- seems
an image of my life to date,
the years behind a lunar dream,
untouchable the years in wait.


No change of mind, no newborn prayer
could stem this car’s velocity,
nor save me from dismounting where
with half my heart I wish to be.


[SHEKHAR AIYAR is an Indian living and working in Washington, D.C., having recently completed a Ph.D. at Brown University. His work has appeared in various publications in India, Sri Lanka, Canada, England, and the United States.]

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