Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘That House’ and other poems

By: Shailja Sharma

That House

That house was a bubble
Inevitably it burst
Its walls had sketched out
my identity
The roof protected it
Plenty of sunshine
windowed in and out
For good, the doors never
firmly locked
Inside was a randomness of
sights and sounds in
which I belonged—
The rattling
of whimsical bottles
The many tunes
played on
our paternal harmonium
Aged burps on fresh linens
and the orderly walk of busy ants
around a trash-can
standing tall by
that pair of
old knees
The rusted
table-fan blew
pure air which
cared for the
root and cause
of my being
My words were
kindly cradled
in their conversations
That was
my grandparents’ house
They were
more than a
I need that soothing
randomness back
because that is
where I truly belong
Even though the bubble
has burst
I can live on its


My Street

Shiny porous skin and
eyes full of story. Sun’s sweet heat
glowing on its loose graveled
face. Rain water resting in its
pits like sweat of a playful child.
The branchy mango tree– its
braided hair. My street.
My street stood only laps
away from the Mini-Market
where flavors of childhood were sold.

The Mini Market is still
booming with new little customers.
A parade of unfamiliar vendors
walks with their better-looking fruit.
Stressed birds flutter around
unopened newspapers.
My innocent street is now
populated with swapped
owners. Some memories
are buried under their houses
which colonized
the untitled playgrounds.

Play may be happening
somewhere else now. Mothers
worry little ones
could get lost on busy streets.
Just as small streets get lost
in a big world.

Time has travelled me far
beyond that street. I am tired.
But my childhood continues to
play over there. By itself.
On that street, where I grew up
and where I continue to grow
by mind’s extension. That street
which pushes me to the sky
and then stands for me
open-armed in my mind’s vision.


A Balloon

A balloon
off my car
and got lost
on the highway
I think it was
my childhood
I had to keep
It had not popped
I realized
when I met my brother
after 100 long


Woman in Sari

With all of her six yards
She walks
And walks fast
On the
Sweet and nasty paths
With her devilish/many desires
And a heart full of love

With all of her six yards
She walks
And walks fast
Across the valleys
With waters-deep
Reflecting secret dreams
And the waves of her sari
Smeared with moon beams

With all of her six yards
She walks
And she walks fast
Each wish tucked neatly
Behind the seven pleats
The Palla hanging free
In its own flow
Desires embedded in her heart
Carefully anchored
Around the waist
Where two of her selves

With all of her six yards
She walks fast
And sometimes slow
With her Sari’s flow


Dr. Shailja Sharma is a psychologist and a poet, practicing in Texas, USA. Her poetry has been internationally featured in literary journals and radio shows. Her poems recently appeared in Setu: Bilingual Journal of Arts from Pittsburgh, The Indian Periodical, Swabhiman Magazine, and elsewhere. Her poetry is featured in an upcoming poetry anthology.  

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