Poems by Swati Chawla







Prelude to a Winter Song... Melluda


do you remember, my Melluda

the tic-tac-toe of love

on your red sweater?

and my white socks

sullied by my labour’s toil?

how you scoured the dirt

off my winter’s glove,

circa 1965?


my overcoat, you remember?

full of restraint.

Oh! my Melluda, how you bring me back

memories of cooking—the black burner that your father gave

at the altar.


you remember how I gained little by little,

your sweltering heart, Melluda?

on a cold day,

1945, circa?


you remember how I wept

over scores of disloyal friends

but wrapped truth’s ring

on my shoulders

with your hand knit woollen scarf?


with the angel’s wings (yours),

I look around for clues,

in the London fog

of how this world had turned into a written letter

that I cannot read


I wrote this song, Melluda

with nothing but the warmth of your hands

and memories of this mad, mad world

without you…


Safe Travels


your travel travails hung on the walls

my pictured bosoms too, that you clicked

clay pots that I made

marinate over my longing

for you.


sickly clocks haven’t ticked

since that infinitesimal minute

when you kissed the nape of my neck.


Must you be gone?


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