Two Poems by Nisha Bhakoo

I don’t speak to ghosts


The rain sounded like a knock.

So I went to the door,

to invite it in.

Bewitched – water from the sky!

I find you there,


not alive.

I wish I could hold your soul inside.

But my new swell of presence

won’t allow it –

another dark subtraction, trickling 

down at my bare brown feet.

Go – go –

with you, I’m not safe.

Don’t knock at my door;

you’re no longer part of this world.

I’m more cautious than I used to be.

I don’t speak to ghosts.

I don’t invite them in. 

I no longer grind my teeth 

in sleep.

I’m no longer wild like a banshee. 

My haunted time is done.



Peking duck


I felt the note that I wrote to you.

The one that you put in your back pocket, 

a magician, a quick hand,

a move – pristine.

I felt you sitting on my words. 

Your elbows on the table, 

eyes on the Chinese zodiac, 

the pimple on my forehead, 

the menu, the waiter’s nod.

My mouth on the seat of your chair.

Peking duck. Two glasses of tap water.

A wound in each forkful.

I knew you would find it too dry

and felt your weight

pressing down on each of my words.

I was full before the duck arrived.

I’ve never written something

that I haven’t felt.

A duck symbolises married bliss.

I didn’t know how to sit up straight –

my heart was running like a dog.

A painted peach tree above your head

failed to sway me into peace.

But still, a lovely hanging.

I wanted to bark, to make a scene.

I never had a problem,

with making a scene.

But I shrank to a wayward sprout, 

flattened, under your black jeans.

And I only opened my mouth

for the bill.



Nisha Bhakoo is a 31-year-old writer and filmmaker. Her debut poetry collection You found a beating heart was published by The Onslaught Press in 2016.



Image credit: kris krüg

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