Friday, June 13, 2014

Straight lines

Poetry, Jun '14
By Shaleen Rakesh

I watch them quietly
they are everywhere

whichever way I turn
whenever I scan the rooms
to understand more

they live around corners
and turn with a parallel force

in the shoe box
on the floors, on roofs
along fingers and toes

down the railway tracks
in your most hidden alleys

sometimes they sit across me
looking strong, confident

elsewhere they are like anyone else
longing for dimension
waiting for their time to come

hoping to sleep
wanting to smile.

Shaleen Rakesh is an author and activist based in New Delhi and has been at the forefront of the gender and sexuality movement in India for the last 20 years. He was the primary petitioner to challenge Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in 2001. He currently works as Director at India HIV/AIDS Alliance in New Delhi, and is Editor with independent publishing house OpenWord in New Delhi.

Poem sourced from The Lion and the Antler, the first collection of poems by Shaleen Rakesh (World View Publications, 2013). Limited number of copies available with Varta Trust – please write to

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