Jyothsna Phaniha’s poems evoke the inner


Jyothsna Phaniha’s poems evoke sounds, colour and light. The moves move in graphic description, and are structured narratives. She has an eye for detail and the outer world has as its “objective correlative”, the inner.


Painting A River


I should fill this glass with a river.

This crisscross board has all the letters, should find which key is for which finger?.

Half chewed colours red, white,

banana green carpet,

a pale brush

I should find the names of those colours,

probably from someone Who learns names of superfast expresses,

Or, someone who labels flavors for juicy, oily sweets.


Turmeric pastel, swimming stones,

Boats dipped in salty sand, ultramarine odor of fish,

Coconut leaf dolls, crab shells in coffee spoons,

Occasionally get captured in photo shoots.


He used to sell cow milk.

Now packs his entire home in two baskets.

She was made to welcome the traders.

Forced to respond in their language.

The children too count the coins during the cock fight.

Boiling water, cooks narcotic sweat in the yellow mist.


Floods with the power of ceasing power supply

too gets featured in photoshopic love.

Pot water wet with clay, sugarcane trunks,

Bamboo flowers, sunset on the dust window,

Umbrella dark burning crops,

When can a flamingo catch toys in the sand mine?

This glass is dropping the language

of the unarchived poetry.

Listening to it’s own glass bangles echo at the sky,

Godavari is old to notice them crossing.

Forgets it’s language to warn their shadows.

Nervousness risen.



Banjara hills


Cologne hotels and chandelier malls,

Studios and star homes,

Dust and noise fashioned enterprises,

For years harbor the perforated past.

Songs of unwritten language,

Stories of dance,

Disappearance of mirrors once lived,

occasionally greet the untested history.

Hills still prosper,

The named hunts the hunger.




Antiseptic white, anemia in eyes,

Lovesick language, Hysteric syntax,

The days increase, the numbers reach the target.

Syrup ice cream cake

French bread, consumed wrappers,

Cooked fragrance she spells from those flowers she wears.

Mirrors everywhere she finds

Even in the whitewashed canvases.

Anorexic vegetation

Vomits the residue of the hunger,

Eager to alter her old clothes.

Her hands turn in to fingers,

Face parts the age.

No laces before the bakery footwear.

Visible bones, faster in her sandwiched nerves.

But, how long, no one knows,

She repeats to herself “throw off”,

The weighing machines, turn too murderous.

Moon lady’s love


Moon is not a costly mirror.

I can see myself dark, though it shrank me inside.

With wide opened feather cotton fair ears,

He tells me stories to night.

In the days, we collect the arrows.

As the earth knows, I mistook the pill for seasonal temperature.

Blessed with more than foretold, I live

Here with the acoustic stars ever trying to impress me,

Angels busy in preparing another elixir,

Lonely flags writing prophecies for women,

And the transfigured love, pleasing my heaven.

Note: Moonlady is a figure appears in Chinese mythology.



Taylor’s Slate


I don’t remember when I first felt light,

But the memory of fixing those tiles on the aluminium frame

Corkscrews   the clocked math’s classes.

My clairvoyant teacher made all numbers with one octagonal chocolate.

He moved it in fingers and showed me a zero.

My fingers didn’t adjust with the graphitic marks and scaled trays,

Yet, an old teacher introduced the algebra of soapy stones.

He twisted the zigzag point and said “XYZ”.


The slate had too many eyes

We inserted fingers and tried to count.

Sometimes, we built castles with those candles

The other times, flowers holding trees

Faces and birds, erasable igloos,

Moving world.

Wings in abundance, the penciled slate handed us,

We count for years,

For others to experiment.


(Additional info: Taylor’s frame is used to teach mathematics to visually impaired children.)

Jyothsnaphanija is a PhD research scholar in English Literature at EFL University, Hyderabad, India. Her poetry has appeared in Melusine, Muddy River Poetry Review, Northeast review, Coldnoon, Kritya, CounterPunch, American Diversity Report, Magnets and Ladders, among several others. Her short stories have appeared in eFiction India, research articles in Subalternspeak, eDhvani, Wizcraft, Barnolipi and in several books. She blogs at phanija.wordpress.com