One Heart – Many Breaks
by Sandeep Kumar Mishra
Indian Poetry Review Press

"Is there a life beyond death?
Is there a path across the sky?
We are willing sinners,
But subject to a pardon"

In this collection of nearly fifty poems, the poet has divided his work into six sections of focus. These include the realms of personal, family, society, world, nature, and universe. Additionally, Mishra has included a stand-alone "Letter to My Beloved Wife," which laments a marriage wherein, after many years, it has become apparent the two have grown apart. Reading the poet's heartfelt and highly personal letter—which ties into many of the themes present in the rest of the book's poetry—the harsh reality strikes one that more marriages fall apart than stick together in many societies. The reader feels Mishra's emotional pain and, as mentioned in some of the poems, his less-than-desirable life of insomnia, migraines, syringes, and social anxiety about venturing forth into the crowded city.

A poet of Indian ancestry whose work (including roughly half the pieces in this collection) has appeared in numerous literary journals, Mishra has established a unique voice. He speaks to the sanctuary and stable peace of his home, as opposed to wandering out into the harsh, loud, polluted world. Simultaneously, in other poems he celebrates nature and the simple, profound beauty of night turning into day and vice versa. His words describe abundant "ripe sweet fruits" as he paints pictures of "mountains, red roses, brown sparrows, / bright glow worms, golden eagles, black bees / yellow sunflowers, scarlet macaw, green trees" wherein "showers drench morning and nights glow with dew." Still, other poems speak of an almost tangible isolation, with an inward silent monologue and a "voice held back," body and mind sunken into sullen shadow. There are joy, fulfillment, and beauty in many of these poems. There is likewise the absence of such. These poems prove rich in sharing such a range of mental and somatic states.

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