Contributor Notes

Jeevan Narney

Jeevan Narney

What Opened When Life Left                                                                        


The wife left a set of maple eyes.

She died with them wide open like the window.

Her husband sat silently, his eyes tightly shut.

Their baby who hadn’t opened her eyes in the room

Was tucked in the nurse’s arms, then taken away.

The husband opened his eyes, taking time for tears to fall.


The husband watches the leaves of autumn fall

To the ground- red and yellow. He wipes his eyes.

Wind cuts the life from fragile necks of leaves away.

So violent the wind that came through the window,

And into the sad and aging silenced room,

Slamming the doors and windows shut.


The wife’s heart’s door slammed shut.

The breath minutes ago rose, only to fall,

Falling flat on a quiet chest. Last breath felt in a room.

Wife’s dog whines through the window with yelping yellow eyes,

Pounding his furry fist against the closed window,

Then growling at the silence in the room, which had not gone away.


Many more minutes have now fallen away

And the husband still refuses to close her eyes shut.

Rain is seen falling on the rested leaves through the window.

Some drops hang on the roof’s tip. Tired of tugging on, they fall.

All the cupboards closed up in the wife’s body, but the eyes.

Every working clock stopped time in the body’s room.


The man stares at the clock’s new hour in the room.

In comes the nurse, nuzzling the newborn that was taken away,

Brought back like a returned ruby amulet, but the baby’s eyes

Stay tucked inside, not ready to open, tightly shut.

As remains of the last rain begins to fall,

The sun’s yellow hands slip through the window.


The arms of the sun rest on the sill of the window.

Now there is light in this silent room.

Nothing new outside will fall,

The rest of the rain has gone away.

An hour has shut since the baby’s eyes remain shut,

But she begins opening up a set of her own maple eyes.


“Close her eyes,” says the last light from the window.

 He will shut the mother’s eyes to rest in the lighted room,

 And look away to his daughter’s eyes that carry in them the new fall.





Stillborn Elegy



Look at the moon-bitten field,

The clouds shredding like paper

Melting in the last fires of sunset.


Stare up at the stars too small in the sky,

Your large hand against your flat belly.


The son you always wanted, you had,

But not alive, the future did not survive for him.


You name your boy and hand him over to be bagged and burned.

You don’t want the ash, you don’t want anything

But his name to be known,

A memory conceived in the womb.



You will say to your village,

With your hand against your belly flat like a map,


Here is where he began and ended.