Washing by Rajani Radhakrishnan


These poems are like washing hung on the line, they might
tell you about the shape of my body, or places I went to last

week or that I will buy anything in grey. Watching from your
second floor balcony, you probably laughed over that Bengal

cotton phase from last year, row after row of freshly starched
pastel sarees tangling with the breeze or worse, that summer of

distressed jeans, alright, I apologise for those. But you still don’t
know enough, not enough to walk across and ring my doorbell,

not enough to know what I think, about anything real, anybody
real, you don’t know where I dry my clothes during those long

monsoon months, you’re never close enough to hear those
endjambed screams, never careful enough to read the words

that do not fall in line, are never told enough to know the things
you never can be told, what if I tell you about this shirt, about

this poem that I wrote as I lay awake in the small of the night,
wondering why silence, real silence, itches like dirty laundry.

by Rajani Radhakrishnan

Editor’s Note: Unexpected enjambments, line to line and stanza to stanza, contradict the casual voice of the speaker, and force the reader to pay close attention to the narrative (and especially the closing line).