The Migrant, Pooja Biswas

I know these silences of which you speak.
they emerge as if from a womb, and recede into the spaces
behind your eyes (concave; green-lit), spaces you do not recognise
for strangers have trampled upon them
& long since left their marks.

I know these silences of which you speak.
they curl, quiet animals, beneath the dusk of noonday automobiles
& sheltering hands: heat-softened, quiescent, in untroubled sleep.
no voices wake them, nor thoughts disturb
as the hours pass darkly by, distant as marching feet.

I know these silences of which you speak.
restive as the untilled earth, heavy as the unborn, pale
as the unwritten. upon the stone & hew of plough & sickle,
between the creases of callused hands, these silences
coagulate, stubborn as old sweat or new blood.

I know these silences of which you speak.
the silences of crowds, of bees, in which no single speech
can be discerned; the silences of foreign streets, an exile’s dreams.
the rush & turn of wheels & wind, of dust & departing things,
the subtle loss of passing by, of passing on, becoming history.

I know these silences of which you speak.

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Pooja Biswas

Pooja Mittal Biswas was born in Lagos in 1983, and grew up in several countries, including Nigeria, India, New Zealand and Australia. Currently, she is a postgraduate at Macquarie University. She is the author of four books: Subliminal Dust (2010), Diaries of a Marked Man (2005), Musings on Poetry (2005) and Musings (1997). Her work has been reviewed in The Age, The Australian and ABC Radio, and her poetry been published in Meanjin, Hecate and Jacket Magazine. In 2001, Pooja was selected as New Zealand's representative for UNESCO's international project, Babele Poetica, and in 2007, she was featured in both The Best Australian Poetry and The Best Australian Poems. Most recently, in 2018, she was anthologised in a landmark collection of Indian Australian writing titled Of Indian Origin: Writings From Australia. She lives in Sydney.

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