Hold her

by Barnali Ray Shukla

Will you hold her

if you find her

half awake in a half slumber

Will you taste her dreams

and announce surrender

to leaping tongues of fire

Will you tell her

 if they are well-done

or  overcooked

Will you hide her from a

 yesterday plucked unripe from

a grove that grew next to a river

that died in haste

Some say she lies buried

in the red of the watermelons

 in the breasts of folklore

sprouting each time

when you walk past

with a promise that breaks her

will you take her home in a mouthful

of stories that mend her

that only you can tell her

when she is half awake in

her half slumber.

Barnali Ray Shukla is an Indian filmmaker and a writer. Her debut feature film as a writer-director Kucch Luv Jaisaa, was released in May 2011. Apart from story and scriptwriting, she also writes poetry and was published in Kitaab.org, teksto.in, Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry II. She has read her work for PEN India Events and has been part of the 100Thousand Poets for Change and read at their Mumbai Chapter. In two consecutive years, 2013 and 2014 her scripts were long-listed for the SUNDANCE-Mahindra Script Lab, one of which she will be making as a feature film in Bengali. She has been invited with her documentary ‘Liquid Borders’ to film festivals across North America and Italy to more than eleven film festivals in India. She is the India winner of the Raed Leaf Poetry Award 2016. She likes to describe herself as a ‘mutant poet’ and when she is not doing any of the above, she goes off to climb mountains. She is currently shooting her second documentary film.