Poetry: Prerna Kalbag

Prerna Kalbag

Look inward, they say
And you will find torrents 
of insidious cervixes
Of Brutal Pain
An earthquake

You will wonder why you
swam in
the water you drank.
Why you let swishing pain
inside a membrane
lovingly f**k you up-
when you were just a coiled room:
a grilled plank.

You will joggle,
then thrust forth 
a lifetime of fervently held 
of bubbles
leading up a lurid lane
Of floating green doors appearing
out of nowhere.
Of purple skies wobbling
While the gushing fumes you clamped 
seeped inside your pate.

You will wonder why you gave him
Miles and miles of pavings
Shovelled to reveal
throbbing, disregarded pathways.
And living castles will still 
breathe inside you,
While you will be a colonel’s drawing room: 
Grimy, cluttered, a mere case.

The Nun

A pocketful of Catholics
in a gutterlane,
Of frothy Sapphic hugs
in a Convent.
You remember much;
The scowling of her habit for instance,
That still rents your head.

You were a child,
She a woman;
Beneath her surging, secluded
Bleached Church Skin.
The dumping of her innerwear
on a bathroom slab 
for you to clean;
She splayed her legs
while none was looking,
Inviting you in.

Food for Sin,
Food for Sin.
She barters her
food for Sin
She might give you an
extra handout
If you can make her squeak 
in her unseen bower
Under the fan din.

And all those 
umpteen mouths to fill
That recite after her
On piercingly mephitic mornings.
(children just like you,
filling her convent).

Christ is indeed King,
but not inside his
Festooned dwelling
Where prayers are spat out
as often as
his soiled chalice 
hits the sink.

The traipsing through
stacks of donatives
A concoction of 
ruined Benefactor Skin
They who’d rather
Spend their money
in this House of Filth 
than on Unchristian Divertissements.

She left all those 
trapped in your head
Morning after Morning
you cleanse yourself
of Knowing
by spitting out intermittently
the blood
in your phlegm.

Your basin must be
an omniscient Hell
From which still trickle
warring cathedrals
intermingled with Her smell.


You are supposed to feel
uniformly about a person
At least when they’re on their deathbed.
You must feel peace, or at least a sense of closure.
You must love them, or hate them.

You do not, under any circumstances,
walk around with a bouquet
of pins
sticking out of your fingers.
They do not, under any circumstances,
leave you feeling gutted
on the side of a dark road.

They do not leave you
with a heavy box
weighing in on your chest that you
spend a lifetime
trying to get off.
They do not leave you
with a torrent of unspeakable moments
manifesting for your every lover
as a Wall.

Especially when they were
not even your lover.
They birthed you in pain
and brought you out into
a world of
tumult and horror.

Through them you saw
the depths of cruelty
the world could descend to.
Through them you felt Everything
stuck to and
plunged into you like a

Through them your innards
Raged under your flesh
and made you bark out
Words (they call you a “Writer”)
Through them “Love” became a term 
both terribly bland and terribly tired.

People like to believe you
loved them and they, you.
People have such a disemboweled,
diminished understanding of
what you went through.

Author Bio: Prerna Kalbag has just completed a Master’s degree in Literary Arts from Ambedkar University Delhi. She is interested in art history, sociology, sociology of law, and critical theory. Power relations and the politics of social exclusion deeply influence her creative work. She feels that writing, far from being a spontaneous activity, is a responsibility and a conscious act.

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