Poetry: Ananda Sen

Ananda Sen

On My Triptych*


Some days I roll up

My fingers in a fist

And throw it towards the sky

As if to touch it

As if to break a part of it

and put in my pocket.


Some days I listen

And listen

And listen

To all you have to say

And hold your hand

Knowing fully well

Those hands have bloodied me

Time and again.


Some days I am happy

I play with words

flirt with tunes

Soak in the rain

And surrender to my desire

I create my own story.


And another day

I am a mound of clay

And let you make

Your favorite sculpture

Of me.


Some days I am manly

--whatever that means--

To the world

I can rule and dictate

Like men do

Have done so for thousands of years.


Some days I live

The life of a woman

As it is written in the scriptures 

You Love it

As does the world

And I know what it feels like

To be the Second Sex.


Some days I clothe myself in 

Fancy dresses

Put on jewelry

That shines and sparkles

And your hands rip open

My shame

You leave me naked

Often by authority vested upon you.


And yet some day

when I take my clothes off

On my own accord

You cannot stare at my nudity

You cry of sacrilege.  


Some days I am in a dream

I see no color, no creed

And I play fearlessly

Like a child

With all that are fragile


Some days I wake up

I am the Methuselah

I see black and white

And I see shades of gray

And I tread watchfully

On a rope.


I am all of these

Some scattered left

And some to the right

And in the middle panel

Of the triptych in my attic

It is I

In search of the role

I am to play today!!


*Author’s Note: Triptych is a three paneled mirror






The firecrackers light up the night sky

smiles move from a face to another

she is happy

in India it is Deepavali, the festival of lights

twelve thousand miles away that celebration

mixes with another

``We won’’

somebody shouted –`` let’s get 2024’’!

tireless efforts paid off,

the countless nights she did not tuck in her children

the concerts of her son she missed

the numerous rainbows she did not look at

the many episodes of her favorite show she skipped

the poems she did not read, or write

all vindicated, at this moment

the light, the sound, the action

all feel like a happy ending of a movie. 


It was not an easy campaign, never meant to be

mud was slung, stones hurled

a daughter of immigrants

she had to prove her worth

to her family, to the world

and to herself. 


Now she is drowned in congratulations

for a job well done

she passed the test

with flying colors.


Meanwhile many miles away in a bar

a different type of light spits out of the barrel of a gun

a different type of sound fills the room

there is scream and stampede

bodies strewn all across the floor

bodies that now only have names

lips that will not feel the touch of its lover

eyes that will not witness 2020.


Now there is silence

deafening, vicious, choking silence

waiting to be shattered by the next round of bullets. 


The guests left the living room in a mess

she does not want to clean it now

she wants to rest, to cuddle with her family

she wants to be home tonight.


Tomorrow she will wake up early

to prepare herself

for the next battle

for the next journey ahead. 


After all, victory is but a moment!!




A Graduation Poem


The silence is deafening

The clock ticks menacingly

Walls of the hallway, the lockers, the floor,

The beautiful glass cabinet with trophies

                        All painted with anticipation

They are waiting

Oblivious to the outside world

               Waiting for something to happen


And then the bell rings

Doors open

Gushes out bodies

Like water out of a floodgate

Like a tsunami hitting the shores

The silence breaks

                       One last time 


He empties the locker into his backpack

His treasures, a pack of cigarette, an autographed baseball,

A headphone

A two dollar bill

And a crumpled picture

Does her locker have one too?

                    Perhaps with a different boy



Behind the soccer field, there is a tree

that witnessed many first kisses

bore on its trunk signs of many unions

Sometimes the same name appears more than once

In different pairs…..

He sits at the foot of the tree

                         One last time


He watches his friends talking animatedly

Perhaps looking for him

Principal talking to some students

giving them some final advice

A few boys started playing touch soccer at one end of the filed

He watches from a distance

                      like one watches a movie


He walks back into the building

Into the empty classrooms

Picks up the chalk

Draws a ship on the board

A ship sailing away


He walks to the crossing outside the school building

A waft of cool breeze caressing his face

A homebound school bus stops at the light

Dream and ambition exchange glances

For a few seconds

And then ambition crosses the street, walks away

                               as dream looks on. 


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