Your demons are boiling out of you;
they’re climbing out of your mouth.
They’re shaking hands, boisterous
and roistering, they’re making
very large drinks, petting the dog.
People love your demons.
They are joking and clinking
glasses, their hair is flying
all over the place. Nothing
is sacred. They’re charming
girls into corners, sneaking
a kiss like it’s candy. They’re talking
about the Jews. Your demons
have made themselves at home,
feet up on the couch, changing
the song on the stereo. They’re kicking
that damn dog, they are pissing
in the potted plant, a small one is doing
rails off the windowsill, eyes alight.
Your demons are pushing
girls into corners, pawing
at their shirts, losing
the entire plot, somebody is saying –
Hey, stop that – the light is getting
low, the room is getting
dark, the dark is getting
loud, the loud is breathtaking.
So loud you’re deaf, you’re crawling
towards the bar, the ice is falling
onto your face, asking anyone
where she is. Your demons
have knocked you over, a knee
is in your face. Your mouth is open.
They’re looking down at you, the light
is down, it is falling away.
You’re falling into the ceiling,
the demons are quiet, they are retreating.
New Year’s Day, 3 A.M.
Two boys playing catch
under crisp Orion, the farmlamps like halos.
The earth is frozen, the year is dead
but not risen, Lazarus is sleeping
in the dark.
These two, no wives, no family,
alone together as brothers can be.
Next year will not find them,
one hand searching, free and easy,
eyes to the low moon,
out of which, like a future, drops the ball.
In old Punjabi, the organ of love is the liver.
Passion comes from the heart,
but Passion’s a thief, Passion’s a taker.
To build love in the dog days, that art
we leave to the liver – the liver’s a giver.
My old dead grandmother
called me that – I was repulsed to learn
– a piece of her liver – me! Her grandson!
I imagined a slime cube, grey in color.
Only now as a cook, my hand on the organ
firm and tenacious, do I start to understand
how much to live is to suffer.
In the cremation yard, they say that the part
that burns last, takes longest, isn’t the heart.
It’s that old performer, the unsung actor.
It’s my old name, the resolute liver.
Satyajit Sarna is a writer and poet from New Delhi. He is the author of The Angel’s Share (HarperCollins India, 2012). His poetry has been published by The London Magazine, The Sunflower Collective and others.
Image credit: (vhmh)