Poetry from Jayant Kashyap

A lit red candle sits in darkness

Photo: David Monje

We only seek the blessings of those we love.

Catacombs, Paris

When our lovers died, we gave them a piece of land,
a cloth, a kiss, and prayer beads. So god would be kinder.

And warmer when the snow touched them coldly.

When it didn’t work, we took them elsewhere in night-
coloured clothes, and sat down to pray for days on end.

– We made rosaries out of skulls, filled the tunnelled
walls with mirrored convexities of their faces,

later our faces. We remembered lines from almost burnt
journals: Nothing dies in the land of the dead. So

cold even the snow’s unusual coldness doesn’t seep in, or
stay long. We found in older letters words quietly hidden,

like history isn’t kind to the weak or to women; or history
isn’t kind. So, now, we light up candles to make warm

the silence. We sing for them songs they have never
listened to before. We leave words of grace at their bony

feet, kiss again their rusty cheeks goodbye. They
understand that only some words can be so old, like

eyes, love, death –
………..yeux, amour, mort.

Jayant Kashyap has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net, been shortlisted for the Poetry Business New Poets Prize twice and won prizes at the Wells Festival of Literature and the UK Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network. He has published two pamphlets – Survival (Clare Songbirds, 2019), Unaccomplished Cities (Ghost City Press, 2020) – and a zine, Water (Skear Zines, 2021), and his poetry appears in POETRY, Magma and Anthropocene, among others. / @jaydkash

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