‘Even Now’ and ‘-8’


This is part of a series of ekphrastic poems presented alongside ‘Hyphenated’ at The Substation. Jeet Thayil’s poems respond to the work of exhibiting artists Nikki Lam and Rhett D’Costa.

Even Now

[for Mindy Gill]


Even now as you lie on your stomach,
reading of the mad king, desiring me, I want
to say all this happened a long time ago,
long ago this room, the call of kites
and crows, the food we share each morning,
unvarying and satisfying, I want to say
last night I dreamed my father refused
to die, he shuffled from room to room
forgetting why, so when you offer me your lips,
I want to say I love you even as I turn away,
even as I walk out of the house to the street
and a woman who bows to her phone, whose
bewilderment grows each time I speak.



city built of twigs,
twine, rexine,
old tape, colour
leached of colour, no
meaning but things
the mind receives
as dolour,
headwind, blown nest,
the small bird
broken like this line.

Jeet Thayil

Author: Jeet Thayil

Jeet Thayil was born in Mamalasserie, Kerala, in 1959, and educated at Jesuit schools in Bombay, Hongkong, and New York. He worked as a journalist for twenty-three years before writing his first novel, Narcopolis. His five poetry collections include Collected Poems and These Errors Are Correct, which won the 2013 Sahitya Akademi Award (India’s National Academy of Letters). He is the editor of The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets. Narcopolis was awarded the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and was shortlisted for five other prizes, including the Man Booker prize and the Man Asian Literature Prize. His second novel The Book of Chocolate Saints was published in 2017.

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