Two Poems by Aditya Shankar

Artist in the Garage

The artist in the garage
finds happiness in elevating
designs to their functionality –

to let a punctured wheel
roll beneath a car again,

to let the toiling hands achieve
the dexterity of spanners,

to let the shadow of the garage
dry, as if an oil spill of the day.

His grease-stained workman suit
doesn’t try to hide the fault lines
of survival attempts.

A tidy labour suit is loneliness,
failure, starvation.

At his aid,
the tool chest,
a wild sanctuary with a wild justice.

The plier that mutilates
the burgeoning wire, a tiger.

The hammer that fires up
the slack nail, a rolling boulder.

The waste cloth that absorbs
the grease, wild grass.

If a day is a fight between
design and its fracturing,

the artist in the garage is
ready. He has seen

the wiper-broken sky leak rain,

the bumper-crashed sea wall
let the houses float,

smile melt into grief
with each passing moment.

Parking a Metaphor

In a city with
enough parking room
for a metaphor,

the car shielding the
shivering dog from rain
is mother.

The ground clearance between
garbage-strewn road
and underhood
is home.

If a running car is an athlete,
a parked car is the hand of God
holding up the crashing world.

In that shade,
the shelter-seeking children
blend their sleep.

The city sleeps
when the mother’s shade bleeds
from beneath the cars,
and blankets it.


Aditya Shankar is an Indian poet, flash fiction writer, and translator. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Unlost Journal, Egophobia, The Expanded Field, 300,000 Years of Us, Otoliths, The Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Modern Poetry in Translation, Armarolla and elsewhere. Books: After Seeing (2006), Party Poopers (2014), XXL (Dhauli Books, 2018). He lives in Bangalore, India.

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