Rayi / Vinita Agrawal

You will emerge from water
to make the bleak landscape of our minds
glisten with dreams.

A landscape that has known
the deep throb of thorns
piercing through the soft tissues of feelings.

The cries of a baby alone
can rupture the hard bone of longing
lying winded for decades in hot barren sands.

The other day
they discovered the remains of a whale
in the dry terrains of Arabia.

Perhaps Arabia was a sea once
or an ocean, its womb swishing
with aquatic creatures.

Perhaps a pregnant sting ray
will appear in our visions
like a fertility experience.

And convey
the future coming of children to our family
Convey, that inheritance has been bestowed on us.

  • Spirit children, referred to as Rayi, though invisible, live in definite centres such as waterholes, trees, rocks on both land and sea. The entry of the spirit child in the mother’s womb is always associated with a dream in which the father ‘sees’ or finds it.



Author of four books of poetryVinita Agrawal is an award-winning poet, editor and translator. She is based in Indore. She is the joint recipient of the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2018. She is Poetry Editor with Usawa Literary Review. She has edited an anthology on climate change titled Open Your Eyes (Hawakal) in 2020.  Most recently, she has co-edited two series of the Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English. She is on the Advisory Board of the Tagore Literary Prize. Her forthcoming book Twilight Language is a winner of the Proverse International Prize 2021, Hongkong.

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