April 12, 2022

“Night Skies” — Poetry by Gopi Kottoor

“Night Skies” — Poetry by Gopi Kottoor

Night Skies 

And love turned me 
Into a fish, swimming in your eyes, 
And I was content, 
As though your small pools 
Were more than ocean. 
And so I swam. 
How you turned me, just a body, 
To all of colours, 
How you blossomed out your heart 
As a sea flower 
For its clown fish. 
And you had me there, 
Brightening myself for you 
Over and over, 
Forgetting the splendour of red sunsets 
Turning to loss, 
Eternally in the tossing high seas, 
That love is but imagination, 
Put to test for truth 
In dying night skies. 



Take away from me 
The nibbles you made on my flesh. 
All the whispers you made as we sat by the river bank  
Making paper boats. 
And when I came closer, you said,  careful 
Even the leaves 
Have eyes. 
We let the sundown 
Turn to goldfish 
And sink down to sea. 
Back in the car 
It is me 
All about you 
All over you 
And your words 
Breathing poetry  
Into my face 
And I tell you 
Look, though it is dark, 
Though you have put on 
Wind shields, 
Even the rain 
Has eyes. 


Fire Ants 

There, in the garden, 
They have built a nest. 
A small green 
Balloon of jack leaves. 
And, fire ants, 
They are all over. 
On a wire beneath the leaves. 
It is as though they have found a treasure. 
Each one, running. 
Some returning, some advancing. 
Where to?  
And in between,  
Their kissing. 
In between all that hectic dynamics 
Their stop over, in brief kissing. 
Looks like they’re sure. 
Sure, they kiss, and kiss, 
Much more than humans 
Ever kissed on earth 
Give way,  
And in that language unearthed, 
Unlike us, 
They don’t murder their brothers. 


After the Party 

The puppy is out  
On the rounds. 
He’s sniffing candy, 
Doesn’t want sugar. 
He licks off a plate of roast  
Beef. The tables have 
Their share 
Of empty bottles, 
Left over meat, 
Tossed over bread, 
On which the moonlight 
Is marmalade.  
All the distances  
Have evaporated. 
There by the tree stump 
The last poet 
Recites his poem. 
He is drunk, 
But the poetry escapes, 
Turns landscape, 
Becomes tree scape, 
Puts pressure on the stars, 
Soft as her breasts. 



And to tell you the truth 
I tell myself all lies. 
I don’t care now, 
Where time stops, 
Or where to, it flies. 
I tell myself 
No, it cannot be, 
How can it be that you paint bright glass, 
With shadows that speak 
Of western dark? 
I tell myself, 
Yes, it was you 
Who opened the door 
But not you, 
Who closed all our together sea. 
And to believe    
In your optical illusion, 
I’m in penance 
Having made for myself 
A home of bees. 
There’s the music of pollen, 
Half way abloom 
The sounds of darkness 
Of the cataract of lips 
Across centuries 
Met and parted, 
And your wet hair 
Perfuming the wind, 
Stringing every sunflower 
In endless sunflower fields. 


Vanishing Trick 

And you came and bowed  
And then you said, 
Watch me, 
I’ll build brick, 
Red brick on brick, 
So red, 
But all that’s just part of the magic. 
And as the bricks 
Layered themselves 
One by one, 
You pointed to me and said,  
You, yes, you, 
Would you like to come with me on stage? 
And in such applause  
To your held out hand, 
I climbed up to what I thought  was just a stage, 
But I was in that mausoleum  
With you, 
And you said, 
Now, go where you want to, 
I’ve set you free. 
But how long, how long? 
Such bright magic, 
I’ve never before seen, 
The red bricks 
Turning to piano keys, 
Humming their song of blood. 


What They Want To Teach You 
At the MFA, How To Write 
A Poem 

Write that poem 
That burns the body 
Rents the soul, 
Lets you embrace 
The sea in the rain, 
Touches you 
With the evening sun’s 
Sinking crimson, 
Plucks the rainbow  
For her lips, 
Surprises the eyes, 
Folds her heart 
In your diary  
Like a pigeon wing 
Caresses your secrets  
Turning all that lust 
To love. 


We Played That Game  

Corpses of children 
Coming out of the school gate 
White shrouded, 
Laid with white lilies, 

Corpses of children, 
And the nearby church 
Tolls its bell  
This morning 
With weeping nuns praying  

Such mourning when the children are lined up for the school assembly 
Praising God 
And the small corpses keep coming, 

Each one, soft as bread, 
And their mothers somewhere broken, 
All that silence 
That had such butterfly voices, 
Such dragonfly run 
Those we trusted, 
Those we sent to their thrones  
Played secretly  
Their poison game, 

Such small corpses  
With a whiteness of seeds 
You wish you could sow them 

Rising in blossom  all over 
Earth again.* 

*Tamil Nadu , Karur, India. Food poisoning in school food distribution . 


Gopi Kottoor is an award winning poet. He presently edits Chipmunk online poetry journal.

Night Skies
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