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Poetry Month: RESTLESS

I do not know whether it is

the miraculous ways of the universe

or whether you have prophetic abilities

but these daily prompts have begun

to determine my day for me

as I recall seeing patterns

for several days since I wrote about them

and think of how often I’ve spotted

the word fragrant in the last few days

and I think of how

since the moment I woke up today

my day has been utterly restless

save for the few moments of respite

that reading poetry has offered to me -

even the word restless

and, worse, restlessness,

feel as if something very screechy

is scratching at the spine

but I am grateful for good friends

and for poetry and the solace

that words can offer in these

deeply distressing days

and I must find newer

and newer ways to dilute

this restlessness into something

that I can slowly and very

wrinkled-facedly sip


-Shivangi Adani (head to her Instagram to hear her recite this)


All my life a feeling that have

prosecuted me everywhere,

from since I was a child, is restlessness.

I am restless when I am in love

because I can’t trust my own feelings.

I am restless when someone loves me

because my heart makes me believe

I am not lovable.

I am restless when I achieve something new

because my mind coerces me to think

I don’t deserve it.

I am restless when my mother calls me beta

because I feel I am not enough capable

to carry the weight of this term.

When I write poetry

I pour out all my feelings,

but then I ask myself

what will remain to me

if I free all my feelings

and I feel restless, again.

Sometimes I want to write a letter

to my soul and tell it to be less restless

and trust myself, a bit more,

at least for a little time so I can feel

how it feels not to be restless.


I don't know what it is

about misplaced objects

that makes me so restless.

I'm sorry i got mad at you

when you threw your clothes

on the bed, and I'm sorry i

made you feel unwelcome

when you spilled your heart

on my palm, where I thought

it didn't belong. I was wrong.

Listen, I know all the ways

my body trembles and 

I am aware of how mess 

can trigger something in me

I don't quite understand.

But I'm learning how to be 

still with you, for you,

even on days when the earth

rebels and spins out of orbit.


I shut the sun behind these blinds,

and bury me in a blanket

on a thick summer afternoon;

Today, I woke up after

counting the rotations of the blades

of my fan all night,

And my heart has resolved

to put up a fight.

I put a song on repeat-

Every creek in this house,

Every rustle of the leaves

of these house-plants,

Every noise from the streets,

Every tick-tick from the hands

of the clock,

Slits through my ears-

I'm tired of listening to everything,

all at once.


My leg shakes in the same rhythm

as the rotations of the fan;


I have counted every 1080000 rounds

of these blades go round,

at the pace of my heart.


I told auntie to not bother with coffee and yet as uncle prattles on a story of how his blue car was towed at MG Road I see her pull out more than 2 cups placing the milk on the stove walking away from the kitchen to join uncle’s laughter which is at least 10 footsteps away and auntie’s feet are small but all I can think of is how his bike’s rear view mirror was broken after it had been towed when she snaps her fingers to ask me if I would like to play cards with them today and I nod with a vacant expression for how did she not have sweaty palms so uncle gets up to find a deck in a room whose door steadily closes behind him and my pounding brain cannot remember if I did lock my house’s door because the keys are not in my pocket but probably in my bag which is sitting across from me but uncle is back with the cards which he begins to distribute and continues his story where the car was found undented but green in colour, while my trembling feet worry whether my door’s bolted as I hear the milk revolting, but auntie is chattering and walking back to the kitchen, her head turned to face not the stove but us and just as the milk is about to tip over from the vessel she moves it and sieves in into three cups, two with coffee and places it on a stand just as uncle opens the door to Mari, our watchman who had come with both of our electricity bills and auntie joins the game nudging me to play next while all I can think about is paying my electricity bill and did I switch off my geyser?


The collective restlessness

Of a people under lockdown

Tells a story

That the greatest failure

Of our society

Has been to cultivate

A collective flaw

An addiction to black gold

Blackening our rivers

Even while blackening our lungs

We learned not to care

We became the sickness

A persistent cough

We were also the cure

Political engagement for a structural shift

It took a virus to name our fear

The fear of not being productive

The fear of slowing down

The fear of being still

Slow. Stop


Its earth day today

Even the earth was getting restless

COVID-19 has put us on notice

To us the patients

But just wait until

Until the climate crisis really kicks in



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