Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘Incarceration’ and other poems

By: Srinaath Perangur


I have known who they are
since I was little
I’ve seen him
like this. Reading the
Economist. Hidden in his bag:
bottles of vodka.

it is a different kind of forgetting altogether.
I search for him
Three quarters of a blueberry muffin on the table
sitting like an intruder.
“He has gone,” it tells me.

He looks through the window.
It is a man just like him.
The skin of the liquid trembles in the man’s hand
He calls to him, the
other. The man ripples
By the time he reaches him both
have gone

She looks at me.
She looks at me to
not be hungry.
She looks at me like I am
verging on connecting
the lines of my constellation.
She looks at me like I’m a poetry handbook
She places a plate in front of me
a stainless steel one with only a thin lip
The food is blocking
my reflection
I will clear the plate and
before the curd rice is served
my face will be briefly visible
between the spinach, okra,
the lentils, the rice morsels.


He wears a smile,
excruciating, and with
none of my complicated dark.
His is the kind light caresses, as if
to tease out the texture.
Paper. His opal eyes soften
with each stroke.
The cling of them.

Soon he is still.
Still to the point of lushness.
He appears to me
an owl beneath the glass roof.
His yellow appraisal fixed in front
where he will drag me next,
drag me to my next life, my next
judgement. The next fantasy.
Where I will drag him with my finger across
the back of my hand—a likeness—
and never get enough.

Immigration Form

After Ocean Vuong

Seafoam climbed the deck. Daughter in her arms. They stood cheek-to-cheek with the night-wind. Dreaming

the only pastime. Waves bristled like the splinters in her bed. Journey was her life now, but not forever. In the dark she remembered. Foolish to forget

like her daughter might. She pictured her. Shirts and jeans. Old saris only washcloths, rags. They refused to be cremated. But still

she sighed. The wind stripped her, stripped her a thousand times. But she waited still, silent.

Land almost in sight—

The Promise

it was in the garden I
reached her cheek at
last, between the draw
of both our
grazing breaths

and like a sentence
I couldn’t bear
to relinquish the moment—

our slow conversation
stroking the milk-skins
of our over-heated teas

the oases danced into view
before I could recite the peaks
and valleys of your name, before

I could see you had
starved and hollowed, before
you could show me
your throb of humanity,
before the fire I could
stave, so that the world can see
where the pen is most alight
on the tips of words


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