Satya Dash


Productivity for Dummies


The boys rummaging through the contents of my room
were brothers. They were looking for a love letter I had

apparently written. I was hoping they wouldn’t rifle
through the bottommost shelf in my almirah — that’s where

I kept my entire collection of cricket trump cards — this was
an occasion for defense, not showoff. This pre-teen faceoff in 1999

I won because I had written no letter; I sold them a dummy, which
is something you could call what a wily center forward does in soccer

to deceive an opponent or in a more jarring context, the abject
mode of lure followed by imperceptible dismissal that both ghosting

and catfishing have come to involve. I’m too shy to ask if you have
ever written a love letter. Editing mine today, while sipping black

coffee to keep me sane, it is hard to miss that not one of the 873
words in the word doc is love. I’m mostly a latte person. The foam

of sea is all over my fearful chest, ribs clanging like an arcade
of tuning forks, as if it’s the outcome I’m afraid of. To be unhappy

in love is to savor a sheepish sense of shamelessness. Forgive me,
I never emailed the letter to you. I sent it to a magazine for publication.



Satya Dash is the recipient of the 2020 Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize. His poems appear in Waxwing, Wildness, Redivider, Passages North, The Boiler, The Florida Review, Prelude, The Cortland Review and The Journal, among others. Apart from having a degree in electronics from BITS Pilani-Goa, he has been a cricket commentator too. He has been nominated previously for Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best New Poets. He grew up in Cuttack and now lives in Bangalore, India. He tweets at: @satya043.

<< Go back to Emma Bussi on Natalie Diaz’s Postcolonial Love Poem

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