Sanjeev Sethi – Five Poems

PHOTO SELF(6)Sanjeev Sethi’s third book of poems, This Summer and That Summer, (Bloomsbury), is recently released. His work also includes well-received volumes, Nine Summers Later and Suddenly For Someone. His poems have found a home in The London Magazine, The Fortnightly Review, Allegro Poetry Magazine, Otoliths, Solstice Literary Magazine, Off the Coast Literary Journal, Synesthesia Literary Journal, Oddball Magazine, Hamilton Stone Review, Dead Snakes, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, and elsewhere. Poems are forthcoming in Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Ink Sweat & Tears, and Literary Orphans. He lives in Mumbai, India.


Sensations of soul kissing calligraphed our covenant.
We were finalized to fall but we hadn’t fathomed it.
Excitement of embouchure is fleeting: that is the nature
of fizz. When we dived into it without definitions it
was silent like a family secret. When we searched
for signification, flamethrowers fed it.


Loneliness is my nanny.
I must obey her.

There weren’t any doorbells.
No calls to hide.
I still hid the ones that never came.
Epees stropped on my shadow.
Rain was accoutered in opaque
when it greeted me at the ginnel.

Your face hid fumes of an unknown grief.
I was willing to bandy your sorrows to myself.
In stealth one doesn’t bother what the other is obscuring.
It feels safe to be with someone like oneself.
I like to ripen.
It tells me things I need not know.


You arrayed in xanthic togs looking more tantalizing
than esculents in enticing ribbons. I tried unraveling
your rib. The resolve vanished quicker than I wished it.
Finding each other chirp in cahoots we inscribed glee
on our geodes: it’s exacting to be staid like savants
initiating sessions in exegesis. Your sconce is with me.
Sometimes paramnesia is a pastime.


Ossatures of longing rip open roofs overlaid in viridian.
What use are frames when there are no photographs?
Puissance beyond us, forges our pathway. Ictus
is eupnea, pulling in what we can’t. Being invested
prods them to untie parcels. With the unfamiliar such
pull is missing, more so when the yes or no widget is
under their watch. Moral bellwethers belong elsewhere.


Every time you’re locked
in logjam of lies,
your clinal fancy dress:
rig of personas,
getups for different groups
leaves me lost.

You fire and forget.
Those felled
aren’t as fortunate.

Why am I being tough?
I am your scaled-down version.



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