2 poems by Sameera Mansuri

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 A day with an illness

Earlier I wrote every day about almost everything
now I do not.
I wait for the paper to drain all the sorrow.
The filtered content then goes under the lens,
where I try to bake a muffin.

You do not write as long as you are happy.
I go to the well only when I am thirsty.
We read in the books about growth,
where cells occupy the space
left by separation of walls.
I search for a path within my blocked mind.
I do not write.

A day with an illness like this is negotiable,
I can bake a poem and write muffin on the walls,
without any hesitation.
Depression gives me the freedom to sleep in the daytime
unless anxiety snatches my pillow.
I still do not wish to write.

My lover quotes Ghalib to soothe my soul.
His poems echo in my room
like the chirping of the bird.
He tells me to hold on.
I do not write.

I am again into a therapy room,
where I do not speak.
Words do not escape my mouth,
I give the therapist a silent treatment.
We walk back,
this time in another room
with pills and doses.
I change into a blue fever.

Earlier I wrote about everything.
Now I do not.
Words do not escape my mouth
since it has been stuffed with pills.

 : Grandmother’s quarantine
My tongue is learning to spell a new word.
It’s everywhere,
floating like a small bubble.
across the streets
it echoes in children’s voice
it is stuck in my grandmother’s throat
a sharp cry leaves her lips
inside we know,
it’s the end
but somehow we pretend it isn’t.

The world stands still.
The streets are turning into a landscape
I would have loved to devour
but my eyes can only see fears
rising as giant monsters
over the clouds.
It rains.
Our rooms turn black.
Lizards go back into the soil.

My grandmother only know a few phrases,
Like ‘come home’
‘it is okay’
‘I did not do this’
‘Can I do this?’
and a few words that she learned
when I could not control my anger.
throwing things on the ground
shouting ‘they displaced me’.
So now every time someone moves her,
she feels she is getting displaced,
she says she has been displaced always.
For her,
getting displaced is the new term for abuse.

Tonight on the phone call,
I ask her how is she.
Come home.
We can’t.
it is okay.
We are in quarantine.
There is death outside taking away people,
like the old witch, you told me about.
I did not do this.
Of course, you did not.
Can I do this?
You mean Quarantine.
No, displacement.
Can I displace death?

The silence travels with the light speed,
breaking into a soft whimper.
It rains outside,
we are still not home.


Bio: Sameera has no other way to embrace pain than to cradle it in her ink-soaked arms. Besides writing about pain, she talks of flowers and the sky. She blogs at sameera.art.blog

3 Poems By Priyanshi Jaiswal

A Life Less Ordinary


  1. Space

Morning sun is a subject of my dream
when I think of leaving home. I would paint walls
Look too often at my arrangements in a very tiny space
I haven’t thought of brown bees acting like sentinels on beehive.
I haven’t thought about the forest. Or about things of beauty.
I have been thinking of running
There’s so much to think of,
about it.
A very tiny space is left.
Before my face
is a radio that sings the song of a lovelorn poet.
Behind my back, are people talking.
I keep typing louder
and it hurts in throat.
Space for melody starts to disappear as I leave forest.
I think too much. I cannot think about writing
in this space.
The sky of night is more purple. I recognize the plain colors and call them names. I forget what comes in between.
I make it black or white.
A great music plays on the radio
and blows my mind.
The fingers of my feet
Mother chews tamarind.
I rub mandarin on my belly.
I put fingers on forehead
on both sides
and feel like the lady in a forest movie
with spaces.
I listened to an artist so much, two years ago.
And talked about her to a man I fell in love with.
I found new ways after he found new ways.
In me, the sorrow lived on a little longer
and then I was free.
I haven’t looked
at the artist
since then.
I listen to her, today.
I don’t think then,
about space.
She is on the radio.
People behind my back quietly do their work.
I stop typing.


  1. Dream of Running

I thought that
I had forgotten how to bend words.
I lost sleep for 6 days. I slept in bits.
I have still been losing it. Alerted.
Coming home again is so much like pulling a sinking loon.
I have danced in the middle of an empty room.
Dreamt of creating. The loon grows heavier. And hands grow elapsed.
I want the systems and structures to lie in dust. The
methods to save it have been labelled on each glass bottle.
I go and pull out my peach sweater from
in a bag brought yesterday. I wear it
in March.
The night is like February.
Mother cries for the child to stay while he runs to the forest.
She cries oceans. More oceans when she knows that home is not home
but it is to be called sweet. And that the child knows that
forest is beautiful.

He talked to mother about the loss of sleep. The mother held him close.
He blows air through narrow tin pipes and
goes on with the music.
Kissing mother on her cheek, he flies.
He is going to fly. He sees the glass bottles in home, big and small.
In all, the money plants emerge hanging.

Large poems don’t happen anymore. I love oranges.
I didn’t like to eat them two years ago.

He fell in love with a friend. The friend’s smell reminds him of the word
He says he has never been to a marsh. But he knows
the smell.
Mother cooks for him while he runs
to the forest.

She cries oceans.
More oceans
when she knows
that home is not home
but it is to be called
We thought that we had forgotten how
to bend words.

She goes on to
cook. He’s been losing sleep,

  1. Error in Melody


Man-made puddles and salt pans are drying.
This honeycomb is a devastated rhapsody created in desert.
Camels swallow sand now and drink clouds
There’s no salt to carry to another city.

Ant- homes are found on evenings I walk
to see the tint on one side of that laburnum tree.
A curled spine while I find centaur with bent head.
It is an error in melody. Knees do not bend.

‘A dwindling elephant’ is the song’s name
to which I don’t connect
I created this dwindling elephant two years ago.

Clear sneezes from the adjacent room. I hang in the air.
A detached spider and a flytrap.
I do not work
for poems. They come as they please.
In the bed of the sea. There are deep words.
I think I like to fall
in their hollows.

I boil a cup of water, everyday.
Two, on sundays.
I threw eighteen papers into the sea and found
them by the shore.
On all, I wrote soft words,
words like foliage, floral, bloom, sun and light.
There is nothing
so hollow
about them.
Whatever lightness is held
they fill it enough.

Surface of my toenails are dunes in an old desert.
I never cared.
Ant-homes are lump.
They mix with soil
and a week old laburnums.
This is the disappearance.

Of salt from the salt pans.
Of marsh and puddles.
Of bed from the sea.
Of my connection with
my dwindling elephant.
Of the sound of sneeze
and of its clearance.

What stays is
the adjacent room.
Camels and soft words.

Camels swallow sand now
and drink clouds.
Curled spine is not an error.
Not bending of knees,

I do not work
for poems. They come as they please.




Priyanshi is an eighteen years old girl from Kashi. She likes to write and paint and photographs a bit. Hope you enjoy reading her works.












Submissions open now!

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The last couple of days were a bit hectic and I am sorry for not keeping up with Olive Skins. But I am back and we are excited now to read some more good surreal or abstract poetries and prose work. The theme for our upcoming issue is ” Mental Health”. Write poetry, prose around the theme and wait to hear back from us.


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  • Theme- Mental Health