Three Poems by Satyajit Sarna

Your Demons


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)

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