Ranu Uniyal teaches in the English Department at Lucknow University. She received her doctorate from Hull University, UK. Her work has appeared in Sketch Book, Twenty 20, Muse India, Kavya Bharati, Femina, Manushi, Indian Literature, Littlewood Press and other literary journals both in India and abroad. Her poems have been translated in Hindi, Urdu, Uzbek and Malayalam. She has published two poetry collections. Across the Divide was published by Yeti Books in 2006 and December Poems by Writers Workshop in 2012.
Smoking veins that run wicked like
An old nanny whose time is running out
Doors have been closed and the moon has little to offer
We get inside as if there is no haste
And we time a plenty I put aside my old grandmother’s earrings
They often get caught when it is just right between us
Such a nuisance it is to unhook all – the buttons on your chest
My shoes and slim garters – they have been there awhile
Off your smelly socks which I pretend to explore
They say nibble his toes and he will come like a flash
We breathe one other as the lights twinkle
In the sitting and I draw you in me afraid
Of the morning that has been set aside.
Love is forever you whisper in my ears
The whole of you is seeped in truth
But for the fingers they find it difficult to lie.
Death of a letter
My dear I have stopped
addressing them to you
words glide swiftly
to the wild contours
of distant shelves
that once belonged to you.
In ink I dip them not
nor do I stamp them
with suave sincerity.
Some unholy passage
lurks out of memory
and hands get still.
The alphabet is cold
and my letter
devoid of warmth
of love, of news
refuses to make amends.
For a Father who taught me to smile
My father’s face
soft and grizzly washes away
clusters of sadness and I get closer
to his smiles soaked in eternal bliss.
They are with me
those scattered shades
of a sunset in childhood
unwilling to disperse.
I find him almost everywhere.
The air is floating with his
morning chants of Durga Saptshati.
The fire groans in my son’s eyes.
The waters mingled with the smoke
while his body crossed the bare sands
and this little earth so moist and green
was loaned to me as his only keepsake.
Durga Saptshati: A collection of chants in Sanskrit in praise of Goddess Durga a symbol of Shakti – female energy and creativity.