Two poems by Sohini Basak


They have more to say

Mud on their mandibles the wasps
are carrying around my anger —
expensive black limiting the gold.
I am chewing paper, processing
letters claiming that put in the wrong
compartment these part bee part ant
creatures of summer can bring down
aeroplanes. The wasps take earth to air
and build their stalactite organ pipe
where they will choose to birth stingers,
daughters over sons, who are expected
to live for a year aculeate in half slumber
and answer to the name marginata.
(previously unpublished)
the stains on the tablecloth are trying to say something
Again I have taken to listening to conversations
I don’t understand, languages I will never learn
I tell myself that this eavesdropping
is for research only, perhaps it will
generate some poetry, language begets
language and — immediately the world
swells up, and I begin to see how syllables
can bounce out of toasters, or are dropped delicately
to dissolve in tea cups, how vowels fall through
the fine holes of a colander, phrases you want
to swallow whole made of sounds that shine,
a globule of light at the end of spoons, those
bits of table talk I try very hard to catch between
my fingers or chopsticks, delicious amateur nothings.
(previously published in UEA MA Creative Writing Anthology, Egg Box Publishing, 2015)
Sohini Basak has poems and short stories in journals such as The Missing Slate, Ambit, Lighthouse, Paris Lit Up, Helter Skelter. She was one the recipients of the inaugural RædLeaf India Poetry Prize in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize in 2014. She is a recent graduate of the creative writing programme at the University of East Anglia, where she was awarded the Malcolm Bradbury Continuation Grant for Poetry.
Twitter: @Sohini_Basak