Slipping on Sidewalks as an Act of Divining [Poetry]

By Ellen Kombiyil

that creaking got translated to bones
thick rope sea-sunk a bracelet pulling
against tide and wood what it would have felt
like to move with fins frictionless vaulting
sudden wheeling in a wet woolen coat
water-filled wellies carry speech of
squeaking the planet known through gravity
not buoyancy the stone with a feather
painted on it the drawing of a stone
the series of quick black pen strokes
depicting flight the angle it’s thrown
a love letter written in smudged ink not
the thud when you land air is knocked from lungs


Ellen Kombiyil is a poet, writer, and writing teacher. Her first book of poetry, “Histories of the Future Perfect,” is forthcoming. Honors include a 2013 nomination for the Pushcart Prize, and a 2012 nomination for Best of the Net. She is a Founding Poet of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective (, which publishes first and second books showcasing new poetic voices from India. Originally from Syracuse, New York and a graduate of the University of Chicago, for the past 10 years lived in Bangalore. She currently resides in New York.