Poetry: Basudhara Roy

Basudhara Roy

Staying Awake

Restless to fly,

my words move to the windward side.

On the tongue’s leeward slope,

meanings remain for you to find them.

 

Above us, the sky is plaiting stars into the night's coiffure.

With the moon's currency, we buy sleep.

Everywhere, the evening's rain is softly making love

to the earth's adobe dreams.

 

You ask me to count the syllables of a sigh.

In love's architecture, each one is unique.

On the night's dark brocade, I write my longings to you

only to unhook them letter by letter at the break of day.

 

They linger intact on the ether.

At dawn you wonder how the breeze

fingering your face has memorized its tables of waiting.

You realize it has watched over you all night, staying awake. 

 ***

 

To Love You

 

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." 

 - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

To love you, I must walk unceasingly

by your side, toil laboriously under

your sun, share the wide, unending

sky of your dreams. I must learn to

 

encounter your dark, sift through

the reluctance of your days to trace

in my own heart’s veins contours

of your old, undissolved pains.

 

I must travel to your long-lost

innocence, to the wondrous suns

of your youth, to its deciduous rains,

to your tops, kites, marbles, books,

 

to the husk of your early being

before you sprouted fruit. I must

find your rooftops, your courtyards,

your mouth organ, your songs, feel

 

the flutter of your yearnings as you

seek flowers along the meanders of

your dusty afternoons. I must wear

your wind, your water, your petrichor,

 

your loam; I must dwell in your

fragrances, your fears, the fault-lines

of your home, and the places that grew

into you like moss even before you

 

were born. To love you, I must mourn

your losses anew, write on my prayers

your own, thread myself through your

needs so I can always inhabit you

 

like a tree throbbing within a seed, though

unborn, desirous always of sprouting roots.

***

 

Basudhara Roy has been teaching as Assistant Professor at the Department English, Karim City College, Jamshedpur, for the last ten years. An alumnus of Banaras Hindu University, she holds a Ph.D. in diaspora women’s writing from Kolhan University, Chaibasa. Her areas of academic interest are diaspora writing, cultural studies, gender studies and postmodern criticism. She is the author of a monograph, Migrations of Hope: A Study of the Short Fiction of Three Indian American Writers (New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers, 2019) and two collections of poems, Moon in my Teacup (Kolkata: Writer’s Workshop, 2019) and Stitching a Home (New Delhi: Red River, 2021).

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