International Poetry

Letter Sorting House

I avoid reading statutory warnings

written at the hem of clouds

The colour of ink changes in the afternoon   

from warm-silk to maroon

 

The scent of clouds’ movement from one place

to another reminds me

of some earnest postman searching for addresses

in the yellow afternoon — an honest try

to keep something

 

at least private and simple

and I see a lone golden bulb hanging

from the ceiling of the sky, shaking like

a November dream — too fragile

 

In the letter sorting house

colourful moths flit

Under my pillow, I find postal receipts

and colourful envelopes — blue and purple

and brown and white;

They are unopened still

 

Letters slowly pile

up month after month, as if,

they are my unopened sleep at night

as if, they are my last days

in exile 

Sekhar Banerjee is an author. His works have been published in Indian Literature, The Bitter Oleander, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Tiger Moth Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Kolkata, India.

Snail gathering

My father did it often after rain, a custom as ancient

as hunting, only much less violent,

reeking of hunger

 

which was, incidentally, why my grandfather had done it

after the war, when food was scarce.

 

I see myself looking at their slimy transparent bodies

boiling and simmering on the peasant stove

 

my great-grandfather built, wondering what they would

taste like, watery worms sticking to your tongue like

 

chewing gum, only much less flavored.

 

And now I do it, too. I go out when the rain stops,

pick them up and return them to the green plots

 

they have escaped from, rushing like mad, five seconds per hour

to find their one true mate while the earth is still wet.

 

I would have been ashamed to admit it — register my weakness

along the strong genealogical line of hunter-warriors

and snail-gatherers —

 

had it not been for this woman

today, who leaned down rather suddenly

at my feet, lifted it, and placed it on a bed of pansies.

Roxana Doncu is a writer and lecturer in English, living in Bucharest, Romania. She has published a short story collection and a number of poems in Romanian, British and Bulgarian literary magazines.

The Barn

Featured

When “No” was screamed out,

All horses had to stop.

Dust swept through their nostrils, and they snorted.

The barn fell apart and the devil was released.

Animals escaped, finding a way out —

A crow danced, sang, and celebrated,

Trees turned purple, and cows dug burrows.

No clouds remained in the pink sky.

Ruins of the past stood there — telling stories.

Maybe the time had come.

Destruction echoed through the land,

And the rotting aroma permeated the air.

Among the decay, would a green leaf sprout?

It could be there awaiting a tear.

Riham El-Ashry is an Egyptian poet, artist, and an English language teacher. Her poems and short stories have been featured in online magazines and literary blogs as well as in paperback anthologies and journals. She also writes poetry reviews.

An Immigrant’s Cry

An immigrant is like a

fish in a bowl

safe, secure, contained

but away from its ocean

missing the rule-free play

with the aggressive wave

hitting hard on the body

yet soothing the heart

with a feeling of belonging

that needs no consent

and need not be earned

it just is

Dr. Shailja Sharma is a psychologist and an author, practicing in Texas, USA. Her poetry is nationally and internationally published in peer-reviewed journals, literary magazines, and radio shows. Recent publications appeared in Spillwords, Life in Ten Mag, Literary Heist, and elsewhere.

Youth

We are all historians,

Digging up our own truths

As the sun sets calmly above,

Greatly taming this wild thing

Called youth.

Kinga Hajba is a writer, poet, and author inspired by her surroundings. She writes articles and poems for the women’s organization Bamby Collective. She is currently based in Budapest and enjoys spending quality time with friends, cooking, designing, and creating.

Why Ivory!?

I speak magic, they say. Good, they don’t know the truth, they shouldn’t. Major, minor, sad, and happy, it’s all the same for me. Any note, any chord, any freaking key, I always scream. The keys they press, the pain I feel . . . Ah! Why Ivory!? I was good and well, actually great, as the tusk of a giant male. But they got me too, stole me too, then sold me too. They got heavy cash, leaving me in pain. Gave gifts to their children, my life in vain. This is my destiny, I guess, to sound magical, crying nonetheless.

U.S. Khokhar is a teen writer and poet from India. He is a passionate reader and writer, and his previous works have appeared in online literary journals like The Literary Yard.

Reflections on the Last Day

I know that one day, a doctor, who I probably

do not currently know

will bend over me to attest to my death.

It will be one of the many tasks he will have that day.

He will be examining a corpse, but will never attest to,

the thousand and one days I happily lived

with the lovers I conquered, the devoted and faithful friends

who gave me their smiles and countless hugs, all of this born

from a pure, naïve and strong human camaraderie;

will know neither the sobs of anguish nor the desperate voice

of certain days, nor the tears I had to shed along some paths I walked;

will never know the brightness of the days I was able to celebrate,

although it took a while, nor the victory over the enemies I had to face;

they will not think of a God and Creator waiting for me,

analyzing and weighing the sentence that will have to be delivered,

nor what the new world to which I will be sent will be.

Edilson Afonso Ferreira is a Brazilian poet who writes in English rather than in Portuguese. He has been widely published in selected international literary journals in print and online. His first poetry collection was Lonely Sailor, One Hundred Poems.

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