Home 9 Literary Journal 9 Volume 21 9 Volume 21 Poetry 9 Iyra Maharaj – “himalaya” and “i prefer birds in cages”

Iyra Maharaj
“himalaya” and “i prefer birds in cages”


it took an ache of an age
to climb into terrestrial hide

but the day i found you
was the day sun devils dropped dead

a bipedal knock
on their sloping sycamore laws

to climb into milk
and boil with the white-bellied calf

we bit pages off
archaic books to chew them like cud

and swallowed them –
a tectonic second coming

my snow-capped shadow
you are the amber morning

i am the wrong kind
of soil tossed in uneven heaps

you are the root that
crawls into me still and swells


i prefer birds in cages

i prefer birds in cages
underfed and sickly thin

i prefer pollutants
pandora parasites
and proliferation

i am the truth and i
prefer creaking cobwebs
crawling across the wall

i prefer my dogs alive
whimpering on forever


Iyra Maharaj is an educator, palaeobiologist, and poet living in Cape Town. She holds a doctorate in Biological Sciences from the University of Cape Town. Iyra has been writing poetry since her matric year. Her work has recently been published in New Contrast and her debut poetry collection, earth-circuit, is due from Dryad Press in 2023.