Sneha Subramanian Kanta "Four Poems"
Winter with a ghost and purgatory
You will clepe a voice.
An open field quotidian
in the nocturnal Venetian blue.
A ghost leafed on
a clover, in the bifurcation
amid light and citronella.
An ardour for knives
and feet thudding in permafrost.
A ghost will vein the return
of mourners unspooling from
hills where animals
on gravels near a stream
quench their thirsts.
A portion of hunger is worship—
ombre dusk before curtilages
begin sonances of feast.
After harvest in burlaps
animal trails will begin to appear
on grass alongside
the hexagon in the sky as earth
begins dimming in snow.
Stars will become visible
from sanatoriums where a ghost
gleams in the space
where rainclouds assimilate
over the lilac horizon.
Craquelure from which muscle
restores into bone—
particulates from a grove
of peripheral damp
rising from the pines
where first snow cascades into
empty barns arrowing
into mildew tunnels that arrive
in the interior crest
of a shift with fleeting birds.
The birds will encounter
a ghost and begin to fly.
There will be reprieve.
A beryl dawn over azul frost,
a glacial ruffle by the drizzle
a softness aloft receptacles.
An Inheritance of Light
The scent of sunlight peers through apexes of mountains
and a compost of water hyacinths. A name for each peak,
an unfolding in each summit. As you lay awake, dreaming
for a hundred years, history speaks back to you: the living
tissue in a tree stump, musky wildflowers, open mouths of
river-streams in full force, a dab of attar from chandan trees
on your wrist. An abundance in the teal mountains beyond
the war, a world beneath our feet. My grandmother covered
the route between two countries with a dream of mountains.
I learn how to say mountain in three different languages in
her voice. I taste the syntaxes of these words on my tongue.
I dream of an abode of snow, of shelter, a resurrection for
tired feet. There is a coastline beyond the mountain and a
mountain beyond every ocean. Sky coagulates like blood in
your body. Wet fields after rain sprout into a moss-forest full
of evergreens with birdsong. Remember the names of your
ancestors in memory. Walk as if every tree you pass through
in the mountain is a reliquary of their being, a safekeeping
for life. Every green vein in the hands of my grandmother
reminds me of an understory beneath the forest floor, tracks
of leaf and foliage. A synonym of mountain is a remedy for
hunger, as the tendons in your body react to veins carrying
nutrients into its system, the way my ancestors gather fruit
and chamomile bulbs in my dream. In the mountains, there
will be singing, because a mountain is not a symbol of war.
As the claws of a bird decompose in its soil, champas bloom
over mountain ranges under a glaze of the moon. A smudge
of winter-fog over the slope smells like a garden of dried roses.
Animals rise through a slope toward the summit like migratory
birds over an amavasya sky. I watch a mountain loop our prayers
like an echo through the darkness. A glistening comet appears
across the sky, a streak of purple phosphorescence, as a row of
earthen lamps lit over a porch. A mountain is a remembrance in
the solace of a blue night. A plumage of nocturnal rebirth. Mist
rises through dusk-hour emissions. The mountains harness light.
ghosts rising in barns
covered with snow
gliding their backs over
English ivy interlaced
with green creepers.
a duet of hymn & slumber
a landscape husked
with smells of petroleum
along frozen glaciers
where a Diuca finch nests.
ghosts acclimatise where
membranes of the sky crackle
into a cold sunset. the sky
bursts into sediments
the slow cascade of water
under our feet: rose & dandelion
pressed under a cover of snow.
ghosts wreathing toward
constellations, dressed in
violet aubades of lyric.
all memory turning to light
suns dwell inside the snow sleet.
Before morning, an interlude of light & shadow
upon a vacant field. Ghosts with periscope eyes,
each a mausoleum of violet lilac sent to earth in
another form. The violet of the sky invisible at
dawn, though it looms, scattered by atmosphere.
Brook trout brocade lakes with a vermiculation
of colors that extend till their dorsal fin. Before
an animal eats another animal, ghosts gesticulate
sermons to hinder the ferity of this ritual. What
is the name for the collection ceremony of fallen
flowers & stems of a linden tree? A reddish bud
on your palm for blood-loss. The bees produce
monofloral honey from linden trees. Their labor
is a tincture of amber. A transmutation of crystals.
A dent in the ground amid grasslands where ghosts
weave one portion of earth into its deep emptiness.
An expedition of using cellulose as a renewable fuel
to rescue depletion with its biomolecules. In some
places, earth is drawn into a row of syringes. What
bruise holds us? Fire caused by a splintered ember
can burn whole landscapes into ash. A brutality of
invention. Over the colorless field, carrion birds
devour carcasses. Ghosts carry fragments of bone
into a portion where the earth is scatheless & place
them on the anther & filaments of roses. Over the
red scope of sepals. Ghosts scale brute topography
until the end of a day. Call them cartographers.
When dew settles on grass, ghost tracks turn it to
gossamer rain. Ghosts wake underwater & cast light
under a clouded sky. Everywhere, colors emerge.
Sneha Subramanian Kanta is a writer from Canada. She has been awarded the inaugural Vijay Nambisan Fellowship 2019. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Waxwing Magazine, The Puritan, Savant-Garde Literary Magazine, and elsewhere. She was the Charles Wallace Fellow writer-in-residence (2018-19) at The University of Stirling. She is the author of Ghost Tracks, published by Louisiana Literature Press (Southeastern Louisiana University). She is the founding editor of Parentheses Journal and reads for Tinderbox Poetry Journal.