Sanket Mhatre (Voices Within 2023)

Sanket Mhatre’s first book of cross-translated poems, ‘The Coordinates Of Us’ won the prestigious Raza Foundation Grant after being shortlisted at iWrite2020 at Jaipur Literature Festival. His poems have appeared in anthologies such as Wives, Indian Literature, Yearbook of Indian Poetry In English 2022, Shape Of A Poem, The Well Earned, Home Anthology by Brown Critique, as well as literary magazines such as Punch, Borderless, Muse India, Madras Courier, The Usawa Literary Review, Men Matters Online and others. His second poetry collection titled, ‘A City Full Of Sirens’ was recently published by Hawakal.





We speak in a language

fractured -

by time

splintered through distance.

With each new day

we close a door

morph into updates

Our heartbeats are negligible blips

Emptiness festers

an undergrowth in the arteries

A virus that cannot be spoken in words


Each day, we ask,

a perpetual question - 

How many more days

till we shut all the doors?




One moment can be refracted into seven idle truths

Seven layers of our being, distilled every single time

Seven coherent possibilities staring at you, wide eyed

While you choose one, like picking a berry from a basket

Unravelling the skin of the clock to find another time hidden beneath

There are seven ways of me & seven ways of you

Meeting at seven different places in seven different cities

Saying seven different things or thinking of seven different poems

I have found one of them, when you took off from the airport

(The one I’m writing right now and awaiting the other six from you)

I have kept this truth, as close to me, as your lips were, a few days back

Before it splits into another moment

Contemplating my birth in seven different ways to fulfil your body.

In a single, undivided night.


When Apocalypse Ends


The world won’t stop and think. The cogs won’t be oiled for a week.

Beaches would be full of naked bodies swinging for another chance at life.

There will be party. One world will abandon the other.

While finding balance, we would lose some too.

Once deserted airports will witness flash-mobs of the quarantined

Now a gated community with special privileges – they had suffered the most.

The virus and the fear. They are a new caste who will fight reservation someday.

Suspicion will flutter from windows and balconies, the last of the dregs, kept to dry and wilt.

Science will vacay in exotic places. Miami. Seychelles. Recently opened Europe.

The cure is now served in almost everything – from alcohol to chocolates

Injected into generations for a virus free species.

Lovers, once separated, will make furious love in rooms across the globe.

The chaos of finding joy will skyrocket as much as stock prices.

The world will stand back on its feet, and count its bruises, before saying, “not much.”

Nobody will know that this was a silent war waged to divide humanity

Until the next apocalypse strikes.

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