A Year Without Summer

Everything I laboured for left me broken.

They buried sweet summer

under piles of paper.

Semesters roll without vacation.


Summer is a memory now.

I type all afternoon

for the semester in June.

May remains — a rusting plough.


Memory is a pitcher full of holes.

I smell salt-skin at sea.

Teachers rust with fatigue.

Their body becomes a bowl. 


Our sea yearns for seagull-shine

on ships to fairy lands.

We are a bowl of sand,

we no longer know if we are fine. 


Ships conquer oceans

after long-leisure.

Yet, our fine pleasures 

bring days of demotion. 


Leisure is old with lotus-languor.

Let teachers be women — 

days of beauty summon

a bird’s song to appease her anger.


Teachers run wild like Impalas.

Horns rip the air,

anger is a prayer

to free teaching from Google-gala.


Has ripped air spoken

to a hot roof in rain?

Teachers, steal your vacation!

Rise like water and swallow the broken.  


Jhilam Chattaraj is an academic and poet based in Hyderabad, India. ‘Noise Cancellation’ is her latest collection of poetry. Her works have appeared at RoomColorado ReviewAriel and World Literature Today among others.

Featured Image illustration by Pariplab Chakraborty.