Barnali Ray Shukla (Voices Within 2023)

Barnali Ray Shukla is a writer, filmmaker and a published poet in seven countries. She lives in Mumbai, with her plants, parrot fish, books and a husband. She also lives on Instagram @barnalirays 

 

Tread softly

 

Play hopscotch with fire                  

if you are lucky, you step

on a mine, or two. Boom.

 

Smithereens of a playful

yesterday, gone in seconds.

 

Cheating death is a poor choice

when limbs ache with a need

to be free from the body

 

contained by orders, borders

drawn on scrolls where guns

salute power, that can’t tell

 

Palestine from Israel,

Syria from Yemen,

knotted in times where

 

the dead wait to wake up

the living lie in a slumber

as they spray bullets, greed

 

shaped like guns, speak of ties

that wake up to what could be

ours, could be yours, could be

 

guns, could be mine. Baby steps

to safety, but on the way, there’s

 

a minefield. Tread softly

 

                          …boom. 

 

 

Breathe

 

Dusky loam wore light

warm breath moist with

green

 

The earth unbuttoned,

seedling woke up for

water

 

seeds with wings, striped

rounded edges, cook

sunlight

 

Leaves unfurled to speak

in chlorophyll,

 

        language of home.

 

 

 

Heaven Inc.

 

We have forgiven God for he knows

not how he came to be with us

We watching over Him 

or He over us

 

 

We haven’t forgiven God for she knows

not how she came to be with us

We watching her or

She over us

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