Anjuli Raza Kolb

Anjuli Raza Kolb is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Williams College. She is currently working on a scholarly book and a collection of poems called Janaab-e Shikva, after the Urdu poet Iqbal.



The Chandrasekhar Limit



You hold on to

first breaths

and hand lamps

to break the dark surf

Lahore fog and frozen

mosquito song

rise with an arré, bitch! and

slap the bitching peacock

rise with snot and spit

of bearded curmudgeons

dragged out of night


To be born here Tamil

in nine teen hundren and ten

bicycle without arms

folded in a gray chaddar

ramrod Punjabi posture

learned from soldiers

who stamp dew now

who snort clouds for show

counterfeit horses

tall Pathan edge dancers

Wagah arabians on two legs


This birth a kind of historical limit


Bikes and stars

six sisters

and a looming border

an ocean transfer

a sense

for the measures of density

a mind that wrapped

itself around dying stars

and squeezed

a mind that dragged itself across

scarlet brambles

which Rimbaud said Jesus crushed

bramble stumps

which Rimbaud said

raise up and overturn

to make a fertile sea of field


Oh my god

says the sarson field

I changed.

Oh my god

says the celestial biker

The yellow blaze.

If mustard flowers

burn in the five river sun

what does the sun burn in


Belted by more than three

and brothers too


There were eratta

in the corpus:

For stellar evolution

read Rajalakshmi

For stochastic process

read Balaparvathi

For decelerating star

read Vishwanathan

For turbulence

read Balakrishnan

For stability of ellipsoidal figures

read Ramanathan

For radiative transfer

read Sarada

For dynamical friction

read Vidya

For hydromagnetic stability

read Savitri

For the Chandrasekhar limit

read the final daughter

call her



If they waited for him to light the diyas

they’d be waiting forever

relatively speaking

While he birthed and deathed

his mind in the black earth

the looming indo-pak trench

lit up the diggings

with mustard petals

and wove his coral physic

along the bank of shadow stream


While he pushed his eye

from its dark ripple

onto a bird tide

lit on the sekhar

the relatively far away crest

and then to a higher darkness


If they waited for him to sing

the rest of their songs

they’d wait for a hundred and seven years

relatively speaking

so they found the far morning moon

and sang just the beginnings

chanda mamoon dur ke…

Chandra Mamoon, calendrical felicity

naiyya younhi beheti jaiey…

little stream

you go in just this way

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