Poetry at Sangam



FIRE-WALKING by Sharanya Manivannan

Dusk carnival,
the ocean opening her arms
as the camphor is lit,
and among the magi,
perfect concord. But

no war is over
until the last woman
stops wailing.

My fists were full of hibiscus
and under my feet the embers
were small star-stung implosions.

Where is there room for fear
in the heart of one who has held
all the love and consequence
in the known and invisible worlds?

Perhaps you who watched
with hooded eyes saw
only my pyre. But the
earth herself was dilated
beneath my seared steps.
And when I emerged from
the caldera of her womb

I was incandescent, my
heart singed bittersweet.


(forthcoming in The Altar Of The Only World, HarperCollins India 2017)