Two Poems / by Maitrayee Deka

to kill a cockroach

before he could ask
I would say kill
the two black balls
hunting for a final
escape from the
steady steps of the
man behind
             I want to challenge the murder
for the last time
just in time to think of the shredded vests
inside the trunk of bleached shirts
and dry-cleaned cardigans
automatically pausing the ‘bleeding heart liberal’
from putting the rest before the self
like in most places
training the head to look
the other side of the lifeless eyes
hurrying one’s pace
to get to no-where
a classic case of momentary guilt
welling up to save the day
but not enough to act on
that day






last night after I slept,
it rolled into a sun-torched morning.
alliances are made in the darkness
as a stolen glance under the yellow lampshade,
quietly hidden from view at the edge of the mirror.
from where I sit, it is a floating light
easily manipulated,
compressed into darkness with an extra sheet.
then the conversation is real:
nothing about jobs, and ‘short-term contracts.’
we speak about intergalactic kinship,
‘how many of us in the many more of us?’ She interrupts me
before I could fabricate. And when I start,
we would have moved to phantasms and shadows that imitate us
in the boulevard, and how we take a quick turn to tease
those who follow, only to crane our necks
and regain the few friends we have.
as the light grows dimmer, we hear strange noises in the backyard.
we dwell a bit longer before we announce the howling wind
redundantly reminding us the broken shade that needs repairing.
as we run out of urban mysteries and feigned disaster,
we swing our heads inside the refrigerator.
we make a lonesome sandwich of leftover vegetable curry and tomato sauce,
revel at the finality of scarcity.
how the crescent moon clasps our choices,
from this world to hers.
each time she peeks through the curtain of clouds,
we two get lunatic.
long nights are for witches.
more puppetry with the lamp,
less of awkward silences





Maitrayee Deka has a PhD in Sociology. Originally from Assam, she works as a researcher at the University of Milan. Her pieces have appeared in OpenDemocracy, Asia Times, and Seven Sisters Post. She is currently working on her poetry manuscript, Litmus Paper.