‘Beach’ and other poems by Ajay Kumar

By: Ajay Kumar

The sand refuses to own,
the sea denies, orphaned
the plastic breathes in undeservation- I
feel obliged to call my limbs brown describing
them under the sand even though,
there, or beneath sea-foam,
it is not seen, does not matter,
never did-

Dip in the sea to know,
there is more salt than in you, so
the kids playing beachball are just
legs with distant uncertain bodies-

You see a pearl knitting an oyster around it, taste
the ripple of reversing myth, hear
the whale, rolling up her jeans, to beach-
Open your eyes with the lightning
before thunder wakes you up-
roll up your sleeves to scoop up fish,
open your eyes the right way & see
that the whale has done what you heard her get ready for-
you could have hummed back.


My parents have the power to make recipes
out of thin air & whatever remains in the
fridge-basket, beans, yam, did you not
bring garlic, I told you to bring garlic,
another yam- but the secrets that new things
keep from me, keeps me from them-
the proud cherry, royally on cream, is stripped
of its pink pride because we fight for the sponge
of the cake, because that is what we want &
always had, we fight to not-eat the cherry
because we cannot leave it or toss it away
because we have never left it or tossed it away-
each cherry a point in space, why not keep secrets
with them, start with them & move
to the old things they grow on.


Leaf meet button, button meet leaf
The fullness of trees keeps me from stripping.
I’d unbutton for every fall but buttons
don’t grow back as leaves do, leaves
have veins & buttons holes, leaves
hold dew like life swaddles touch, buttons
have to let it all pass through-
She makes me button from the last, make
my way up, so I don’t miss any, I still miss-
she tells her to button every button of the collar,
tells me that the second would choke a boy,
I wear two for her when I should have made
her wear one- if my fingers were made
in dreams, they’d be a jetty into the air, calling
little boats nodding in their own shadows,
to dock, but they are not, on some days
I feel my not-stripping is what keeps the trees
full & it is in your hands to cause autumn.

Categories: Poetry

1 reply »

  1. All the three poems are exceptional. And oh beautiful lines are these I loved most:

    “Open your eyes with the lightning
    before thunder wakes you up-
    roll up your sleeves to scoop up fish,
    open your eyes the right way & see”

    Stunning images indeed.

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