Clearing- Priya Sarukkai Chabria

papers this morning I chanced upon
notes made in Lahore  on the Buddha’s sculpted
footprints: two feet long, cracked

and wrapped in hushed museum
glow. (The right’s in Pakistan, the
left in India, a cross –legged gift

of the Partition.) Sandstone
circa 2 BCE found near the mountains
where the Bamiyan Buddhas blew.

Beholding it I had stilled.

This evening’s determined cleaning
spell – done seated in padmasan –bared
my mother’s walking shoes:

beige canvas sprinkled
with plastic flowers of gold,
small and dusty in my hands.

Beholden to the pair I stalled.


Wish like a child: wish wild, wish
time reels back till substance refills relics, wish
cosmic dust seals my brokenness. It’s not

to be. Their bodiless footprints stamp
my ’vain form of matter’ . Imprinted to the core
I look forward and begin to clear my way

into the void


“Oui, je sais, nous ne sommes que de vaines formes de la matière.” –Stéphane Mallarmé in 1866.

Priya Sarukkai Chabria

Priya Sarukkai Chabria is a poet, novelist, essayist and translator with five published books.  Awarded by the Indian Government for her Outstanding Contribution to Literature her works’ translated into six languages & is published in Adelphiana, Asymptote, The Literary Review (USA),  South Asian Review, Caravan , Cha, Post Road, The British Journal of Literary Translation , Drunken Boat,  Pratilipi,  Language for a New Century, The Literary Review,  IQ, Another English: Anglophone Poems from Around the World among others. Forthcoming in 2015 are translations of Tamil mystic poet Aandaal (Zubaan) and a short story collection(Niyogi Book). She edits Poetry at Sangam.


Leave a Reply