Poetry: Manisha Manhas

Manisha Manhas

That noon when we travelled
to the sullen paths veiled in
the concrete dryness of life,
you brought me joy from the winds
wading inside the plumage of that
wild crow who perched on an old branch,
spoke to us in strange voices;
beneath him a pool of water,
you pushed my dizzy sight to see silver fish,
sparkling occasionally, reminding me of our fortunes.
You then took my glance to a further
distance to observe children, half- naked,
bathing in that sweltering heat, and I
smiled to us for having undertaken
this journey together.


If I recede to the jungles
of that lost childhood,
parched in whose summers,
I was left to dry leaves and
whereupon I had to swallow my own seeds,
my desires, you will realize how I have grown up
like a pine.


The day my uncle died,
I stood near the framed photograph
of my grandmother
that hung at the south wall
of my drawing room, watched me with a face
drooping; eyes, sunken; the eyes that saw their last,
perhaps, forty-eight years ago,
and still were seeing something
Daddy says,
it was in the monsoon of 1971 that
she passed away.
Forty-four years later,
her son,
my uncle too died of the same ailment
whose face I could not see,
and whose body shrouded
in the miseries given to me by
my last lover, I could not ask to uncover.
Neither could I open
the letter, he wrote to me
whose "still" words
wade through my memory,
hundred leeches, thousand electrons,
currents, slithering through the blood of
my streams, creeping through the cells
of my brains before they all went insane
and mixed into the waters of Ganga. 

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