Neithal from abroad

Even your brine, fish-stink overflowing sky’s nets
to lodge behind this tongue—even then, kaṇṇa, I’m flotsam
distant, half under, sure only of old air
burning this throat, and the next shredding gulp
for boundary.

Cranes in waterlilies I know, but not whose, or where,
or whether they knew you, if there was ever a you waiting
in that landscape sealed away in story
as all land is. Does it matter
where knotted winds tossed me to build sandhouse translations
from disjoint bits of what might have once been you?
What’s seashore to ungainly Magaram,

half trunk half scale all drowning, what’s poetry
that won’t even let my net-caught betweens
into your words? Only this: an ache
of air and memory, the lie
in which something is mine.

(Editors’ Note: “Neithal from abroad” is read by Joy Piedmont on the Uncanny Magazine Podcast Episode 30A.)


Shweta Narayan

Shweta Narayan was born in India, has lived in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Scotland, and California, and feels kinship with shapeshifters and other liminal beings. Their short fiction and poetry have appeared in places like Lightspeed,, and Strange Horizons.

Shweta’s been mostly dead since 2010, but they have a few pieces in the works again.

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