CELEBRATION OF LOCAL: BASUNDHARA ROY

To Home a House

It takes time to home a house;
to have its walls love you enough
to not talk back; to not give away
your  restless syllables to echoes in alms;
to hold your misgivings, confessions
in empathy, through tender healing
into warmth till you are restored
to yourself anew.

It takes time to home a house;
to have it grow roots in linearity;
to hear from its corners
the unbridled cackle of children;
to dig out from chests, lofts, attics,
forgotten toys, shoes, mittens;
to come across congealed years
in a flash under its wings; to frog
a moment out of an entire lifetime
of gatherings in memory’s yarn.

It takes time to home a house;
to hear in its rustlings the cough
of grandfathers calling for tea;
to catch unawares sometimes,
whiffs of tobacco, betel, sleeping pills;
of forgotten spices, pickles, lentil
dumplings left to dry in the sun;
to remember how your bequeathed
household gods, now tidily corner-shrunk,
once sentinelled most doorways and walls.

It takes time to home a house;
to learn the slant of its windows, the
slope of its floors; to respond to its  volar
promises on skin; to realize how seasons
sit on it; to know in silence its occasional
flatulence, stirrings as whims, wishes, sighs,
hymns; to understand that its song consists
in the ceaseless litany of your flights and roosts,
till you realize that a house, too, is like a tree,
your day son its bark its rings.

To home a house is to know you
have a friend in the world; it is to have
mapped every corner of your hearth
in the memory of tears, fingertips, breath, palm;
it is to trust that the mind may here, step out
of armour; that the body may be resigned
reassuringly, as to water; that surfaces shall
adapt to the forms of needs. To home a house
is to bring to it, all the homes of your past;
to summon your past selves- shed, shred, lost,
to today’s banquet of being to be honoured,
fed with respect, gratitude, regard.

And destiny forbid, if you should part,
to home a house will be to live in it still;
in the leak of its faucet, in the creak of its panes;
under the faith of its roof, the promise of its seams;
to resuscitate it from pretermittance
in every night’s dreams, knowing
from where it cannot move, it stands for you still,
a poem waiting to be dusted, read, inhabited again.
---

Basudhara Roy (b.1986) is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Karim City College, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. An alumnus of St. Xavier’s School, Bokaro, and of Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, she holds a doctorate in diaspora women’s writing, her areas of academic interest being postmodern criticism, gender and cultural studies. As a poet and creative writer, she has been widely published in magazines like Cerebration, Rupkatha, Muse India, The Challenge, The Volcano, Gnosis, Daath Voyage, Das Literarisch, Reviews, Triveni, Setu, and Hans India. Her first collection of poems Moon in My Teacup has been published earlier this year by Writers Workshop, Kolkata

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