by Aditya Shankar


A bird
wove its nest

beak and wing,
twig and grass,
tweet and silence,

inside the forest.

A nest, demolished
and rebuilt,

till it became
what the bird desired.

It did not matter

that the nest
was never titled
or signed,

spoken about
or adulated.

It hung there,

a perishable nest
sneaked in the shade
of a snag*

at the end of a
toilsome wild path,

ready to be abandoned,
even by the
fledglings within.

In believing
and trying,

the nest silently
performs the
true function of art.

Note: * – A dead tree

The Purpose

The oar is no friend, says
the ferryman

almost an amphibian
speaking in tongue,

the way it dips and bounces,
a lactometer replica
measuring human density.

The boat is no friend,
says the ferryman

envy of the local frog king
on a lotus leaf,

the croak-free stillness,
not a reciprocation of love.

The water is no friend,
says the ferryman

hidden nails stitch the flow
into ripples, touches gloves
with the ferry, à la fighters —

a partial referee, favoring
upstream stories, washed
away python and deer,

eroded time.

The ferry, oarsman, water,
the sunset at the river bank

in between being themselves,

tries to serve the purpose
and name you define.

About the Author:

Aditya Shankar

Aditya Shankar is an Indian poet, flash fiction author, and translator whose work has recently appeared in Egophobia, Expanded Field, Armarolla, Ghost Parachute, MoonPark Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, and elsewhere. Books: After Seeing (2006), Party Poopers (2014), XXL (Dhauli Books, 2018). He lives in Bangalore, India.