top of page

Half-Shut Eyes

poetry by Shawn Anto

Half-Shut Eyes

“Immigrants from India first arrived in the United States in small numbers during the early 19th century, primarily as low-skilled farm laborers. In recent decades the population has grown substantially, with 2.4 million Indian immigrants resident in the United States as of 2015. This makes the foreign born from India the second-largest immigrant group after Mexicans, accounting for almost 6 percent of the 43.3 million foreign-born population.”


    there’s no such thing as the promised land

    but we promise that the grass turns into fruit

    on the other side, we pray for guidance.


    eternity spools itself over a glittering river

    much cleaner than Ganga, but much less holy

    I’ve prayed for entire monsoons, sunlight gashes

    out side these eyes are golden, each brown body

    becoming a good assimilated being, much yes

    much no, how do you know how our birds sing?


    the tusk of this hymn, much smoother than I’m used to

    a splintered crown, embedded with thorns, black &

    pulsing in, ideas are flowing down to another sea

    rain comes down faster than our educated youth

    so many of them in your face, believe in a kingdom.


    a soft-cut gem, trails a body fully shut to itself

    or embracing a new land, told if we don’t belong

    who is involved in every thread, whirring in your

    universe, how deep do we get, cutting irony out of

    these mountains of uncertainty, these seeds

    grow into this sacred forest or something close to

    what we know back home.


Shawn Anto

Shawn Anto is 23 years old from Bakersfield, California. He’s originally from Kerala, India. He currently studies at Cal State Bakersfield looking to receive his B.A. in English & Theatre. His writing has been featured or are forthcoming in The Paragon Press, Edify Fiction, Susan/The Journal, Internet Void, Ink & Voices and Mojave Heart Review.

bottom of page