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Of invisible purple s(h)ores.
By Madhubanti Talukdar
Pirate ship – we sink in muted laughter.
Pinwheel in the air, throwing colors to the wind,
we race across a river of green.
There is dust in our eyes.
Two shadows race down an old library
Huddle close, pore over the alchemy of words,
Read Borges in lamplight.
An odd, pathetic pair.
My knees wobble like badly piled ice-cream scoops.
In the ravaged purple light of Dusk
I let my goodbyes fly.
So we too became the people we vowed we’d never become.
I’m walking away from you; I turn around and laugh.
Rain, pink evenings, music, always music, mellowed, flowing through our fingers.
Moss, and Fire.
We sit amid ripples of smoke on tanks covered in wilted flowers
We let songs soar into sunsets.
Sometimes, I can hear the Sea when I hold you.
This city was mine, and never yours.
This city will grow around our story too, as it always does.
So I forget to talk about my misery.
From ten thousand miles away you send me poetry
and I drown in a misshapen rabbit hole the world calls Happiness.
I imagine you older,
your fingers even more beautiful,
I like to think I’ve forgotten the sound of your voice.
Every day you walk back home through streets I have loved but never seen
By rivers that flow slowly, ponderously, like a dancer’s arms…
In exile, someone loves you the way I never could.
I speak of exile as if I have known it.
The word is deceptive, it resounds beautifully,
odd, slow, musical – one relishes it on one’s tongue before allowing it to leave his lips.
On certain nights I write to my brother who had blue skin.
He passed on to me the story of the seagull who had learnt to fly.
He did not know of me, but shaped my life with memories that were not mine.
Streams of blood flow between us,
the tangibility of love surprises me.
I have never been to your shore but I see you waving.
Every morning I wake in the city of lost childhoods.
I have trees growing out of me, roots
that dig deeper as the hour of farewell inches closer.
Faraway, in my nightmares,
I look into the mirror and cannot recognize my face.
This is not a good city to write from.
This city that remembers my eloquent silences
lets me remember something old, every day.
Something lost winds its way back to me,
waiting to be loved again, anew,
And suddenly leaving isn’t a word anymore,
it is a world.
Howrah, on a melancholy afternoon becomes Shamli, where Time stops
Shamli, the dark-skinned girl with immeasurable eyes
Running by the Great River
Running through dusty roads
Always running away,
until, like the last fading notes of a mournful song,
she dissolves into Dusk.