When I walk these days

On semi vacant streets
I see endless possibilities

In the peacock divine
Exuding a return of
Immortality, marked in
Embellished eyespots of
Blooming plumage

In the unified sounds
Of winds brimming in
Stillness, eloquent as it
Waits quietly to release
Falling sunsets

In old chai cups

The inside of old chai cups
Relics where I meet myself
Soothing surplus warmth
Boiled, burnt, burnished

The inside of old chai cups
Seeps into me a smooth solace
An elixir in focus — it pours
A reverent aroma, of you, us

The inside of old chai cups
Amalgamates irreverently into
Unspaced days, squandered at
A kitchen table, sunrise to sundown

The inside of old chai cups
I unambush myself, spilling
I claim sturdiness, in retelling
Of stubborn vocabulary, words

Stained inside of old chai cups

My favorite scenes

My favorite scenes are those
Where childhood is drawn in
Cross legged places, our hair
Floor length, braided artfully
A warp and weft of plaiting
Ribboned at edges by mama

My favorite scenes are those
Where I retreat into my quiet
Secrets as I licked into slices
Of raw mangoes in ripe hot
Summer, lazing on verandas
As we counted glow-worms

My favorite scenes are those
Where Enid Blyton’s, picnics
Seduced me into afternoons
Of make believe, moist cakes
School-work and expectations
To be home well before dark

My favorite scenes are those
Where decades are packed in
Boxes of unbridled treasures
That we gathered from every
City we left behind, bringing
Along secrets, forgotten, not


Because a translucent leaf is an inevitable presence in my summer
I participate with it as it goes about its routines, gathering wonder
It is kind enough to swallow the falling tongues of a bleeding sun
Always sipping laughter through its cracked veins into fertile cheeks
Revealing itself to clouds and stirring the dusty air into a crisp birth
Dancing as they bow gracefully to the barefoot patter of brown birds
Cradling on it is a slug, arduously finding bliss underneath dim leaves


When did you stop listening; become unwilling to look up; look away from your own opiate limbs; look away from birthmarks on your skin; look away from the falling blisters of your eyes;

When did you become so lazy that you let the claws of your feet burrow deep, trapped in your own blemished ground; unmoving even when being eaten alive—
by the blooming anguish of your people; by odors from floating carcasses of your soul;
by the waves that beat against the sunken scales of your ghosts; by sordid drippings of
fleeing your own mouth.

At this very moment I am a lighthouse standing in watch; I am carving my solitary light into ripples; each ripple a caterpillar pupating; a butterfly pulsating to panchkritya1 of tandav dance; its wings flapping to the spitting fire of a trillion monarchs; unwilling to diapause until you listen to the whistling of their alliterative song.

They will circle you into an orchestrated garland, evacuating your cauldron of prayers, and pledges, until you hear their buzzing silence; they will drink incessantly of your matted milkweed, they will churn intemperate until you hear anew.

For if you don’t; an apocalypse is coming closer and closer towards your shore; you have time now to gaze outwards and listen; to act before being engulfed into the whirlpool of growling stillness; to become the country we knew.

to become the country we knew.

for the evil eye

Gratitude tastes like a bitter gourd curry
which my grandma makes most delicious
her hands stir away the obstinate ivy, not
in a hurry, she scrapes poison off the skin
with care, back and forth, back and forth
rubbing into it a careful ground mixture of
spices —
three parts salt, one turmeric
a hint of cumin powder
one-part dry mango spice
her fingers crawling into and out of every
nook and corner of their snaky tenderness
stubborn yet subdued as one by one they
are packed and dropped into a bowl —
my day is astringent, an overstuffed aroma
starts to inhabit my palette in preparation
as she continues to de-fang their bitterness
her eyes find untamed twine, in seamstress
style she fixes them into firm knots
her knuckles tying into
these knots our stories
confided, told, untold
all along humming a prayer, suffused with
a nectarine sweetness of words I do not so
understand, yet they make their way into me
my cyan core, its peskiness scooped out, and
gives way to her songs. Each word is tossed
as it finds a firm hold; like those peppercorns
she very carefully places inside the center
of every bitter gourd parcel—
“for the evil eye” she says
elegantly dropping her parcels one by one
into a pan of scorching oil, they flicker
as if slowly salvaging
into their furrowed skin her prayers, and
the descending light of the sunset outside
her eyes brimming with a sweet aftertaste

Kashiana Singh is a management professional by job classification and a work practitioner by personal preference. Kashiana’s TEDx talk was dedicated to Work as Worship. Her poetry collection, Shelling Peanuts and Stringing Words presents her voice as a participant and an observer. Her second chapbook Crushed Anthills is a collection of 10 poems and photographs – takes us through a journey of 10 cities and the complex maze of remembrances to unravel. Her poems have been published on various platforms including Poets Reading the News, Visual Verse, Oddball Magazine, Café Dissensus, TurnPike Magazine, Dissident Voice, Inverse Journal, Feminine Collective, Spillwords, Poetry Super Highway. You can listen to her reading her work on Rattle, Songs of Selah and Poetry Super Highway episodes. 

Kashiana lives in Chicago and carries her various geographical homes within her poetry.