Sneha Subramanian Kanta

Syntaxes of Conversion

I carry ghosts on my backbone. An omen of seeing
crows gather & devour a dead rat, with its intestine
risen like a carbuncle. I gather my utopias in bereft

corners of a holy city. I hold prayers in a basil leaf
between my teeth. A new name for every fragment
of bone in my body. I mouth swaths of repertoire.

The land eschews parameters & ghosts find firmament.
Call it a horizontal plane of survival, or an uncertain god.
Every stone I pray to speaks to me with its ancient eyes.

The crows peel off the dead rat until there is none left.
Each hand that severs another unthreads into thimbles
of saltwater & becomes a risen tide the moon torments.

The sky is scythe into rain. Another name for the flesh.
The arch of a wingbone. A name for each vital organ,
a blessing for ghosts glowing like a parade of fireflies.


Sneha Subramanian Kanta is a recipient of The Charles Wallace Fellowship at the University of Stirling (2019). A GREAT scholarship awardee, she has earned her second postgraduate degree in literature from England. She is the founding editor of Parentheses Journal and reader for Palette Poetry and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. She is the author of Land: Body / Ocean: Muscle (forthcoming with dancing girl press).