There are still hours of the night
 when I can sense you, in the house
you have built at the end of eternity,

counting the moments between
  each glimmer of a pulse of light

 I had left burning in the far reaches
of a season beyond reversion, when

    I had stood still so my coordinates
would not change, believing the
  universe an incalculable

territory, and you, a pilgrim guided
  by the votives of a thousand
loved and surrendered suns.

That was a long time ago. When
  I made love to you it was with
the memory of each star
that had died to become our bodies

and when I let you go I kept every
  map, every myth, imprinted
in aether as in chassis.

I held you across space

for as long as I could, in a sinusoid
     of dimming lanterns,
orbits in disorder, legend
       without chronology –

and time, though measured in light,
divides itself only in darkness.


SHARANYA MANIVANNAN was born in Madras, India in 1985, and grew up in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. Her first book of poems was Witchcraft (2008), which was lauded in The Straits Times as being “sensuous and spiritual, delicate and dangerous and as full as the moon reflected in a knife”. She is currently working on a book of stories (The High Priestess Never Marries), a novel (Constellation of Scars), as well as two manuscripts of new poems (Bulletproof Offering and Cadaver Exquisito).

A Pushcart Prize nominee (for “I Will Come Bearing Mangoes”, Rougarou, Fall 2011), her poetry, essays and fiction have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Drunken Boat, Killing the Buddha, Superstition Review, Dark Sky Magazine, Softblow and Pratilipi. A journalist and columnist, she wrote a personal column, “The Venus Flytrap”, for The New Indian Express from 2008 to 2011.

Sharanya is noted in particular for her unusual onstage charisma, and she has read her work extensively since 2001 at venues as diverse as colleges, bars, bookstores, embassies, an abandoned pier, a cemetery, the 11th century Borobudur temple and while sitting in an autorickshaw.

She has lived in Chennai since 2007. More about and by her can be found online. She also Tweets and blogs.

4 responses to “Light Years”

  1. Lovely.
    ‘ I had stood still so my coordinates
    would not change…’
    One of many lines so sweet they gave me goosebumps.

  2. Sharanya says:

    Thank you so much, J.S.!

  3. Rich Boucher says:

    I loved this:

    “…and you, a pilgrim guided
    by the votives of a thousand
    loved and surrendered suns…”

    A stunning image. Thank you, Sharanya.

  4. Sharanya says:

    Thank you, Rich.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *