The first time I learned reading
I stitched alphabets together
cobbled them into words,
proclaiming, after each letter,
the shape of the sound.
The seams in the fabric of the language
the silence sweeping around them.
I could hear the spaces – that separated the letters
even when all stood together, meanings shrouded them
the hum held them straight.
The unspoken, the unwritten trembled
as the needle of my tongue sew them
with the thread of the language
into the fabric of our conversation
in porous, see-through clothes.
Tabish teaches Environmental Science and Engineering at IIT Bombay. He has recently published his first short story collection Opening Clouds, Fermented Rain (Hawakal). His poems, essays and short stories have been published in The Critical Flame, Shimmer Spring Anthology, Ethos Literary Journal, The Punch Magazine, The Conversation, Indian Review, The Bangalore Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, Kritya, Spark Magazine among other venues.