Culture & Society

Three Poems By Shyamasri Maji

Shyamasri Maji writes three poems: 'Your Imaginary Slut,' 'Afternoon' and 'MS WORD' for Outlook


Representative Image

Your Imaginary Slut

My voice is choked, my fingers numb

It's not cold, not melancholia either

As I massage coconut oil in your silvery hair

A slut in push-up bra dances in purblind fog

Her bangs blow through your hirsute fields

Rainclouds coil in her uncouth wiles, 

firewood stirs in her brazen smiles

She sleeps with you, when I am away on a tour,

undresses online while I am asleep at your side,

Neither of you listen to the lay of receding tide. 

Faraway, in the *krishnachura across the purple sun

a brainfever bird sings to the wet-brown scent of rain


Our Moments lay awake in anamnesic refrigerator

Who cares, if Alzheimer’s or the slut, walks our way?

*a large tree with red flowers


I turn the pages of our wedding album,

creepers coil around my coffee arms— 

a blue snake hisses from your cigar

smoke curls out of your nostrils 

like a song soaked in cyanide salt

The cat purrs outside the kitchen window

I collect the fish bones and mix them

with some leftover rice from our plates

The doorbell rings, our maid rushes in, 

her sweat-ridden gait beelines 

a whiff of distress— 

Large ripples of tap water clutter 


like rain drops on a parched tin shed

You draw the curtains to feel 

the softness of watermelon cubes 

I turn towards the empty wall and 

hum old Hindi movie songs with 

nap-shut lids, like a submerged isle

in the Gulf of Mannar


When the neighbourhood sleeps 

I venture out in your blue light 

to shut up the curious mouths 

and retort the unfeeling eyes,

in unwaged Times New Roman

typing angst in double space—

Peace flows through the hollow

of self-sentenced exile,  

I drift afar from the crowd of 

plastic smiles and arsenic tears,

losing and finding the erratic me

in the true fiction of WORDS

on my patient laptop screen

Shyamasri Maji teaches English literature at Durgapur Women’s college in West Bengal