This has been almost futile: elephant stamps,
            tree rings, crashing into bodies, knocking into bats,
                        tasting water off the soil, and coming together,
            making sense of this and that, licking the concrete down below.

The ice scalding our feet, a leaf’s vibrato, hands tasting of underskin,
            a few waves stuck open to dry, the whole of it murmuring, as if to say:
                        ‘I am not human   animal   God
            real, dead, subjective’

            We’re pits, we eat to eat –
not for hunger, not for death – murky flesh, and
                        roasted limes, a sleek drip of oil, river water.
            Yes, the forest, the forest sees it through – this dark green brutality,

and dotted sky, creeper magnificence.
                        We remain limited to it, all our crater limbs,
            put together to burn and ash. Our eyes scrape the salt off the
ground, we’re unbound by birds and tigers.

Smriti Verma’s poetry and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Word Riot, Open Road Review, Alexandria Quarterly, the DoveTales anthology, Textploit and Young Poets Network. She is the recipient of the ‘Save The Earth’ Poetry Prize 2015 and was part of The Adroit Journal’s 2015 Summer Mentorship Program and the GKA Summer Writing Studio. Apart from this, she enjoys working as a First Reader for Polyphony HS and Junior Editor at Siblíní Art and Literature Journal.

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