“that it all happened
in silence and peaceful simplicity”
— Mary Oliver, Varanasi
I’m writing to you from the ghats
in Banaras, your home. I’m a visitor
this evening. The water here is like glass.
I’m thinking of your name, close
to mine. I’m thinking
of wooden artefacts to buy for you
from the shops lining everything here,
so when we’re away, everything
still reminds you of home.
I’m in a boat, the breeze is quiet
(the gods must be happy!)
At a slight turn in the river, the lights
shine like little fireflies. The stars
have made, already, a mirror
of the water. I’m aligning little diyas
in your absence. Someone near me
says the gods must smile
at the nuances they’ve given us.
I look at the person. He has a kind face,
like a father’s. Mustn’t they?
(for Anshika Sarin)
In your hands, blood, speaking, softly, the stories of glass.
The sun disappeared, a worker glazes doors with auguries of glass.
Tell me, how does love lose, and how does loss grieve for itself?
Is it bleak in quiet, or does a crowd hold confectionaries of glass?
When the first man that ever loved made a tiara for his sweet-
heart, were his fingers razed in flames, in sweet memories of glass?
Stones aimed at the windows, the panes break; a little noise,
that no infidel deserves a heart, is carried in the histories of glass.
A girl, alone, in the church, looks at the tears of rain in the virgins’
eyes, says there is no answer to the heart, to the vagaries of glass;
and the lover, called only the lover in this story, waits to be loved.
His lover, lost, looks for him in the tarnished cemeteries of glass.
(for Anshika Sarin)
Jayant Kashyap is a Pushcart Prize (2018) and Best of the Net (2022) nominee, and has published Survival (Clare Songbirds, 2019), Unaccomplished Cities (Ghost City Press, 2020) and Water (Skear Zines, 2021). He has also won prizes at the 2021 Wells Festival of Literature and the Poetry Society UK’s Young Poets Network and has twice been shortlisted for the Poetry Business New Poets Prize (in 2021 and 2022). His poetry appears in POETRY, Magma, Anthropocene and others.