Poetry: Selections from Shailja Sharma


Thoughts of you

are like cockroaches

I kill them

and they occur

in multitudes again

Afraid of daylight

perhaps, in night they reproduce?

Each object

each person and each particle

of air around me

Whatever I feel, hear, touch, speak,

smell, eat, or see,

is pre-contaminated


thoughts of you.

Published first in Setu, Pittsburgh, USA, February 2021

At My Funeral

A man, he was, I think.
A pair of solid arms,
Swinging like bands of a rainbow to
Embrace me divinely.
Somewhat visible within
Inches of my consciousness,
Breathing by my breaths.
His breaths ran past the second,
I hit my thresholds.
A man, he was, I think.
Treating my corpse with
Gentlemanly grace at my funeral.
Who else would put a woman’s needs first?
Whether or not I was alive,
His priority did not change.
Yet working hard to mask his tears,
(To match social expectations)
At the loss of his loved one.
The one carrying this ordeal of a task:
A man, he was, I think.
My man, he was, I know.

Published first in in Different Truths, May 2022

The Bee

Capsuled in the tulip flower
The bee asked herself
“Who brought me here?”
And then she said
She was like the deer
Who looked for scent everywhere
To find it inside its own body
The echo of her own longing
Brought the bee there
The lava of her melting heart
Traveled her to places
Where no one could be
She created her own paths
With her own obstacles
And then questioned the petals
Of the innocent tulip flower
“Who brought me here?”

Published first in Cultural Reverence, June 2023

The Silhouette

Whose milk is in my bones,
whose blood is in my veins,
marks of her lap
my body carries-
tearing off the sky,
my eyes can still witness
a Silhouette
A Silhouette...
with a bun at the back
gold earrings hanging in either ear
a chain swirling out
the fragrance of her sandal wood
purified my room
Your hair was dipped in scented oil
always combed to perfection
the softness of your fabric
smoothed my worries
eyes were sharper than a magnifying glass
Grandmother, when you were gone,
one corner of my square broke for ever...
tearing off the sky,
my eyes can still witness
A Silhouette-
vaster than the sky
I still feel you, Grandmother....

Published first in Setu, Pittsburgh, USA, February 2021

Bloody Show

It is all about blood.
The going and coming of womanhood
Inside a person is greeted by blood.
You see blood when your kids
scrape while playing.
The thickness of blood
gives a creepy feeling.
Blood also bonds you to your roots.
Sometimes you cannot find them until
you see it coming out of
the wounds of your beloved.
It is all about blood.

Published in Spillwords, USA, 2021

Shailja Sharma (Ph.D.), USA, is a mental health provider and a multilingual author. Apart from scholarly publication and editorial service, her literary writings have been widely published. Dr. Sharma’s publications have appeared in many literary journals/forums of repute across USA, Canada, UK, and Asia. Her writings have appeared in #1 Best Selling anthologies published nationally and internationally. Dr. Sharma’s poetry book, Dear Mama: An Immigrant’s Secret Cry, Pittsburgh, USA, has been critically acclaimed. She has been awarded special literary honor for her writing contributions in international languages.