manu_thmbManohar  Shetty


Dialogue with a Child

(For Riya)

No, that’s not cottonwool.
It’s part of a cloud
Which tumbled down.

And the two halves
Of the watermelon
Are the faces of clowns.

No, they’re not waves
But pomeranians
Chased by an angry sea.

Yes, that’s a pretty scene.
It’s pressed into the page
By a hot iron.

And inside that glass
Paperweight the flowers
Are frozen.

No, they’re not rings
In the tree stump
But my thumb-prints.



(for Shaira)

Each has a place somewhere.
The random fragments dovetail.
Fang, forest, mane—
Come together in a frame.

Soon you’ve mastered this game.
Now your alert eye, your small,
Searching hand fits each
Piece with casual ease.

Soon this evening will cease.
Already the shadows tick
Over the floor, window bars
Imprison your face.

Soon will come a frayed
Edge you cannot guide into place,
A lost link which knows
No rules, leaves a nagging space.

Soon, though the world
Spins to a plan, you must
Read your own hand.

Dear child, walk with care
On those knotted lines which cut deep,
And do not yield.


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