Poems by Ranu Uniyal
Games Bodies Play
This body that is always perfect
despite the imperfections
the sluggish arms, bleak
as perforated cans of fruit beer
open in strange rooms
and often seek comfort
from strangers who barely
stand and smile.
This body is the only one
I ever possessed and yet, I have
loaned it to you whenever
you came, asking for more.
This body makes demands
that I can never fulfill
and I continue to warm
it with spirits, heavy to please.
This body, tenuous, ready
to betray, like a chopstick
poised between the two fingers,
is the only proof that I exist.
The day we went Strawberry picking in Scarborough
The sky was clear and the clammy soil all wet and brown.
We picked up our hats and baskets and shovel and headed
for the strawberries, bent backwards, buried in mud, filed in
a row of fellows clicking lungs with laughter, churning tales.
I tripped on trash, but howsoever imperfect we clamoured
for more, ripe and red, and some so perfect.
Weighed and then we paid and picked up our share.
You tossed your hat and let it be. Yes it was a bright
sunny day, but by the time we reached home, the clouds
streaked in grey swallowed the chatter of the bristling
trees. There was neither the discourse on how tatty and low
is the North to the South, nor the comfort of a kiss, nor
a coffee to hold. It was difficult that evening for me to be
kind and gentle and as I juggled with my lost recipes for
jams and pies baked in caramel sauce, dispensed with the
leftovers from the refrigerator, written oblique over your silence
was the embarrassing truth. I knew there would be no more
season for strawberries and this my only trip to Scarborough.
About the poet
Ranu Uniyal has written two books of poetry: Across the Divide (2006) and December Poems (2012). Her work has appeared in Asia Literary Review, Cha (Hong Kong), Mascara Literary Review (Australia), Bengal Lights (Bangla Desh), Jaggery, Medulla Review, Sketch Book, Whispers (USA), Littlewood Press (UK), Muse India, Kavya Bharati, Femina, Indian Literature and several other journals. She is Professor of English at Lucknow University with a doctorate from Hull University. She also writes poetry in Hindi. She is a founding member of PYSSUM - a centre for the differently abled in Lucknow.