Do You See?

“Creepy” Fiction in ORR; Jussawallah Paper Sent; Come November and Verse!

Couple of interesting things. Lighthearted as well as meaningful.

Halloween has always been a staple in my Upstate NY and later Camden, NJ, life. Pumpkin carving, porch decorations, hot cider, cookie swap with friends, kids at door for trick-or-treat, and midnight chimes of spooky numbers! What fun. Orange never looked so beautiful to me before. One thing though. Those huge pumpkins were not exactly for eating. But every time I’d carve one, I’d take some seeds home for roasting and eating later.

So, on that note, I announce my “creepy” short fiction in OPEN ROAD REVIEW (ORR).

It’s called “Eyes” and it refreshes some Halloween-esque memory. Oh, and there’s an audio of the story from editor Shanti Perez. I got spooked listening to it ūüôā

An excerpt? Well, of course …

“I peer through my kitty and see how the evening light gives a pumpkinny tinge to the hanger-on leaves on trees that seem impatient to shake them off. Also, see faces and eyes passing by in ones and twos in several hours. Kids on bikes, and playing ball.”

You see, in this photograph I’m less creepy. And if you’ve read that Halloweeny short fiction, you’d know what I’m doing here.


I had presented a paper at Pondicherry University this March. Based on veteran poet Adil Jussawalla‘s to-be-published poetry manuscript for “young readers”, the paper discussed how “The Right Kind of Dog” creates a space for poetry for the young. How does one treat a collection aimed at a bracket as wide as”eight to eighteen”? They said they loved my presentation, especially, the students. Dr. Nalini Thampi, the conference director, is gathering up all the presentations for publishing them formally in a book. I just sent off my final paper to her. A university collection of papers is rather neat, particularly, when it includes my say on poetry!

However, the best part of all this is that Adil wrote back in response to my email that the paper is about to go to press. This is what he wrote:

“Dear Nabina, Thank you for your paper. It’s stimulating and perceptive. I’m honoured. Duckbill, Delhi, want to bring out the book next year. If I feel I need to, could I share your paper with them? If they want to quote from it, for a blurb or anything else¬†they have in mind, they’ll ask you for your permission,
of course… With my best wishes, Adil”

And am I gloating! Feels good to know my efforts in reading this manuscript is not a waste. And how gentlemanly and kind of Adil to let me not only read it and write about it, but also present a paper on it.


The beginning of November makes me wistful about something. In this city, November is mild, half-sunny, and occasionally balmy. No chill or frost. Comfortable and fun to go around. What am I missing then? What voice, what eyes, what measure of breath? Hard to describe. As if I’m standing at a door’s threshold. Holding the door gingerly with one hand behind my back. Not letting it close for I want to make sure I can slip out, lest something or someone doesn’t invite me in. In front of me a sprawling window. A mauve tree outside. I want to actually touch that tree. The radiant foliage in the afternoon sun. Or is it a form. The tree and the form merge. My vision does too, with the inaccessible outdoors in front of me. I slip behind. Let the door close in. The deep quiet thrill of the experience remains like the taste of wine.

And I remember a bird. In waiting.

Of course, poetry! Reader, what else do you come here for?



How anything   
is known   
is so thin‚ÄĒ¬†¬†¬†
a skin of ice   
over a pond   
only birds might   
confidently walk   
upon. A bird’s¬†¬†¬†
worth of weight   
or one bird-weight   
of Wordsworth.

Source: Poetry (April 2005).


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This entry was posted on November 3, 2012 by in Adil Jussawallah, halloween, kay ryan, Nabina Das, Open Road Review, poetry, short fiction.
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