Poems by Ritoshree Chatterjee with Illustrations from Subarnarekha Pal

Ragdoll

My sweet, you
asked me
about                                  Insanity

Ragdoll
insanity
/ɪnˈsanəti/
noun
the state of being seriously mentally ill; madness.

I held up
peachblossom
candies

for you, and
ruminated
the whistling

monster; eyes
carmine, chasing
me

till I slipped into
my greyscaled,
homestead

listening to mom’s
sewing machine
ratatat

ratatat

‘Ma, I want to play’
ratatat

‘Sing to me at night?’
ratatat

‘Ma, there’s a monster outside’
ratatat

her eyes, red
from Moscato
wine, red

wool for my
stillborn
brother

red with the
monster, now

inside

in our family,
the heir wears
red wool

ruffles

blessed be

but I crowned
myself, with
a wreath of

peonies

My sweet, my
insanity
lies in peony

wreaths and
watercress
tufts

not in the angry
willowtree of
welts

father carved
in
me

nor in the
porcelain
Buddha

that smashed to
smithereens
as the old man with

bald spots and
garlic
breath

shoved me
down on
his aisle of

little
crotches
smelling like

daffodils

and an old
photograph of a
buck naked

ukulele
lady with
blackbeetle

nipples,
smoking
Havana

how I wanted to be her

‘You’re a  whore’
he
whispered,

his white hands
poking
down my

tadpole legs

and I believed him

Homecoming

Homecoming

There are days you
smell of
sad white linen and

aftershave

and I let you brush off
cobwebs from
my back and

cigarette stubs
from my
navel

… and you
drown yourself, in
drunken whiffs of

long withered buttercup
breasts, and
smoldered

sea-salt smiles

There are days I
toss, mustard
seeds and lima

beans, my
cluttered beads
of rosary

and wonder why
someone with a
smile like

dawn
breaking open

would drift to sleep, to
paltry thighs, and
purplish

skin

There are days our
tiny porch lies
strewn with flaming

leaves of Chinar

and you gently
blow them snowflakes
off my sweatcaked

sleeping, forehead

and you let me
lie, amongst
solitary chirps

of homecoming
swallows, gathering
straw

wishing I knew.

 

 

Fable of a Mayflower

  1. My eyes trickle sand and sweat and seasaltshe is an April girl and her island is overgrown with watercress and flamingofishes her nipples smile at me bits of salmon sun dripping from her lips uncouth

Mayflower I
after my starved half lidded eyes scan past her soft red mud underthighs I veer into her eyes and see the ocean I cannot afford to drown again so I close them sickly portholes and let the sun dry up my tears instead

II. She stared at me till the sky broke open
Mayflower II
she cracks open few coconuts and we slurp the virgin nectar and we let the rain drops kiss our naked skin she hums ditties and lullabies only a mother could
hum her brazen fingertips run over her belly bulging like waves and lemon flowers

it is when she intertwines my coiled hollowed digits into hers and tiptoes into a cove layered with pink debris and pondscum I realise I have known her before for inside lies a skeleton which is barely a skeleton for its skull is smashed to bits and miry worms tear off dregs of rainsoaked flesh still hanging by the ribcage

III. My memories creep back as leaves blush amaranth
Mayflower III
we made love on a mottled autumnal carpet and she giggled while I sucked her areolas peached with perspiration the earth crumbled and the oceans waltzed astray from afar drifted hushed voices of bearded men frigid with frugality and foresight to them we were damnable bloodworms feeding on sweat and semen

while they excused their woebegone desolate pride to law books and zephyrs from primrose canopies none of them had known the wet aching mouth of a woman craving a fortnight’s bliss none of them had spent themselves on distant dreams of bumblebee lips I felt spit settle down my collarbone and tasted blood and clinks of skull and clasped her waist underneath me melting

IV. The graves are done and the only mourners are snowflakes
Mayflower IV
we let ourselves be draped in myrtle and seaweed and fasten barbed icicles and make our sturdiest dig the child lies unborn motionless when I brush my tongue along her waning navel my tongue is cold and dormant and my hands ache as I warble for the babe to wake up to whiffs of fossilized plumeria she pecks me not on the torso not on the lips
I have never felt so unaccustomed to forehead kisses before I hold back frozen gnawing at my grave and hers her eyes are jagged an insane shade I have never seen before

 

a bluebird trills then she’s a breeze that never has been I lie down wooden and wait for spring and the wildflowers

RC

 

Ritoshree Chatterjee studies English Literature at Chandernagore College, writes poetry to find peace and voraciously devours much, from Marquez to Murakami.

 

 

Subarna

 

Subarnarekha Pal is an independent thinker and enthusiast and jams poetry with her friend. Amidst everything, she struggles to be an artist.

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