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Slipping on Sidewalks as an Act of Divining [Poetry]

By Ellen Kombiyil

  • that creaking got translated to bones
  • thick rope sea-sunk a bracelet pulling
  • against tide and wood what it would have felt
  • like to move with fins frictionless vaulting
  • sudden wheeling in a wet woolen coat
  • water-filled wellies carry speech of
  • squeaking the planet known through gravity
  • not buoyancy the stone with a feather
  • painted on it the drawing of a stone
  • the series of quick black pen strokes
  • depicting flight the angle it’s thrown
  • a love letter written in smudged ink not
  • the thud when you land air is knocked from lungs


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Ellen Kombiyil is a poet, writer, and writing teacher. Her first book of poetry, “Histories of the Future Perfect,” is forthcoming. Honors include a 2013 nomination for the Pushcart Prize, and a 2012 nomination for Best of the Net. She is a Founding Poet of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective (www.greatindianpoetrycollective.org), which publishes first and second books showcasing new poetic voices from India. Originally from Syracuse, New York and a graduate of the University of Chicago, for the past 10 years lived in Bangalore. She currently resides in New York.


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