The Drop of Life

You come from a land
Fanned out by many rivers.
You sing of waves,
Embracing and flowing
The last sea miles together.
If the wide breath
Of meandering history
Had settled its silt otherwise,
I could have breathed your air.
Would have plunged and played with you.
Shared food and street and toys.
Would have grown into,
And out-grown in time,
All precious trivialities
Of childhood together.
Since that was not to be,
We meet as loving enemies today.
We lie in this high-ceilinged room
Of this sturdy, old house.
Much like one my grandfather built,
When he and others
Crisscrossed those rivers-
Rivers unknown to me-
To escape the fires
And make a home again.
A home to make love in.
A home to make love to.

Maria’s Mumblings
Months trail down the thighs.
They leave stubborn stains.
Tangle of torn hair
Keep circling that corner.
Why can’t you see?
Why won’t you see?
That corner there of wet walls.
Wet walls
Like crumpled letters.
Like wrinkled hands.
Like rain shrunken
Scrotum n’ breasts.
The kitchen tiles
Are brown with burnt oil.
A dragon fly’s glittering wing
Is stuck there.
How it got there?
Wish I knew.
The goldfish is dead.
The goldfish is dead too.
Like many other things.
A goldfish on my palm.
In that crystal gaze of death,
What pictures are frozen still?

Pebble Drop
He’s alive.
Every evening
The worn heels
Tap off the same phrase
Like ash from cigarette.
Same old phrase:
Station to stairs to gate.
He’s alive for sure.
His fingers have borne
The grocery weight of commitment,
Of happiness,
Of life.
He’s alive.
Bills await him.
Investment plans.
Wedding invitations.
He’s alive
In dishes
And plates
And glasses.
In crumpled sheets
And pillows
And clothes.
He’s certain.
And yet,
Two moth wings
In the mailbox today,
Made him look
In the mirror
An hour.

– Aritra Mukherjee

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