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Arjun Rajendran x Rohan Rathod

These poems will be a part of Arjun Rajendran's third book, One Man: Two Executions from Westland.

The illustrations were created by Rohan Rathod specifically for the set of poems.

My glasses are foggy again

Since you can’t clean

them for me,

I choose not to see the world

clearly, to keep driving

in this thunderstorm

without turning on wipers,

to race through

the miserable apparition

standing in the middle

of waiting and impatience—

adding frost to the number

on the speedometer:

now, a measure of temperature

inversely proportional

to our distance

If the warming is global,

why these growing icebergs

bearing your features?


When you Travel

Clock-hands whirr like wind-vanes before a hurricane. Having no time for sleep or brunch, you drop fountains, jugglers, & tulips down your surprise, tuck Marseilles in your blouse. But on your body, my hands become the traveler you are: insomniac, drunk, bones delirious in a time-lapse video under the skin, seeking fireflies & thrill till being sucked out the train window.


Confessing in the Library

You might finally,

one evening after card games and drinks, say it in a language the other won’t understand— forgetting just the tone is enough, and eyes reveal too much in a fraction of the time the secret moves to the next page. So he says it to her in his library, as authors wake their protagonists up on the right-sides of shelves, and the poets too, envying how they could never invent anyone this foolish, utterly lacking in discretion for the love of a woman who’ll never stop watching from the spines of books while he’s trying to write about her, alone.


guzzerati girl, riverbank

18th century, March 28, Arayankuppam

A colony of funnels

by the riverbank

is where dragonflies hatch.

From here, their resplendence mocks

flags on merchant vessels.

She, who's never flown

to an unknown street,

drops an ant into a cone,

feels herself


inside its mouth as the larva

clams its pincers

upon the diminutive-red-worker.

Long after the sand settles,

a tamil boy —only witness to her experiment—

peeking through an anchor's gap,

feels four wings in place

of his brown limbs.

He flutters near her throat—

an āytam (ஃ) in inverse:

necromantic, tribal.

Read Arjun Rajendran's writing here and follow Rohan's art here.


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