For a Broken Compass

Nivedita Nath

To find your moorings

Abandon the map

Pluck coordinates from wind

and scatter



Feel latitude in sunlight,

Mark shadows for longitude.

Forget those human shapes

     stenciled and stamped

Walk instead under winged domains.

Take Monarch Butterflies for cocooned cartographers,
perhaps even amplify the stones’ vibrations like a bat.

Quietly chase the moon of fleeting nights
then trace the seasons from tan-lines on skin.

Mark waves graphed in your lover’s eyes
And listen to them echo the ocean waves.

Know that you cannot keep these directions

you breathe

    but stop

       to stare still,

under revolving constellations.


Nivedita Nath is a first-year PhD scholar in the Department of History. Her focus is on South Asia and she is particularly interested in how the Himalayas have loomed over the geographical imagination of late colonial India.


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