Devjani is a writer and teacher of Indian origin currently living in Rugby, UK. Her poetry has been published in several international anthologies, journals and magazines, including Stanchion Zine, Sunday Mornings at the River Poetry Press and Cephalo Press. Her debut poetry pamphlet is For the daughters carried here on the hips of their mothers. Devjani is currently working on her second novel, as well as studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham.
Swans and Chariots /
You watch over her sleep like you have done countless nights
before you let sleep come over you.
You take her warm hand soft like down and kiss it once
whispering a prayer
Never depend on another
like I do now.
Never love without a reason to love
Because reason will spare you pain
You open the window
draw the curtain tighter
let in the air
block out the light.
You remember your own mother’s words
she demanded you hear so you would be spared
something like humiliation if you spoke up.
She told you to keep the peace, let the men be.
But ideas like humiliation, submission, like peace
are flipped like a fish that has browned too deeply on one side.
So your prayer is not your mother’s as you clasp your baby’s hand
to your mouth to her ear, her eyes closed as you near.
Be angry – whenever the moment demands
be a gale, the sightless storm that fells the calm
which stand silent in reprise
before the rains
be the queen of all rage
Because it will carry you away like a chariot
pulled by a thousand silver swans into the air
into the night
up into the stars
where the men cannot follow
where the air is too thin to swallow
anything but love.
And she sleeps with those words hung like firefly in the dark of her room
and you are tired.
You turn to turn off the lights,
check the window one last time,
and you glimpse the stars beyond the rooftops
waiting for your swans and your chariot that may still come.
You’re in the kitchen
You're in the kitchen
radio news on
implore me awake from
of witness screaming
against falcons and peacocks
unicorns and lions.
Wild myths and accusations like crows
carrying cloth bundles of
discarded rags, dried with the browning of
her blood in their beaks.
Drowning with the smoke in her lungs.
There’s something obscene about the cutting of one’s own hair
you say, but so is the slicing of her tongue and
the paring of her fingers, dividing each
one into two, four, eight, twenty on each hand.
More fingers to cut, to mutilate
and sew a button on her lips that humiliate
you with their open-mouthed seductive innocence.
Dance then, fan your tail, mock-bow and roll your eyes
like a kathakali dancer behind your mask.
Smile, hand me the coffee cup.
I am wide awake.
Swans and Chariots/A Prayer: For the Daughters Carried Here
on the Hips of their Mothers (Fawn Press)
You're in the kitchen / Aubade 2307: exclusive first
publication by iamb
Dying suns cool
Fading sallow light shines
upon your face
you look ahead.
you are sculpted
marble monument to what we were
before we scatter
to distant, painted orbs.
The curse of the explorer
you say to me
haven’t we said goodbye before?
But this is more urgent
than simple seeking.
An escape to safer shores.
Distorted reflections swim on the ship’s hull
which will bear you unconditionally.
It beckons open-mouthed, expectant,
swallowing you whole.
My own vessel awaits me –
a different quay.
We travel in parallel lines
meeting never, perhaps.
Because I will hope
for the impossibility
of an alternate truth.