Voices Within: Kushal Poddar

Kushal Poddar is an author and a father, Kushal Poddar, edited a magazine - ‘Words Surfacing’, authored eight volumes including ‘The Circus Came to My Island’, 'A Place for Your Ghost Animals', 'Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems' and 'Postmarked Quarantine'. His works have been translated in eleven languages. Find and follow him at amazon.com/author/kushalpoddar_thepoet

Lore From the Pandemic

Grief called me yesterday.
I tell her, I had volunteered
for sadness already.
This number is unlisted
from telemarketing.

Grief calls me today.
I hold the phone balanced 
between my earlobe and
shoulder blade, 
my baby daughter in my arms,
my mind chanting
the sacred sentence of love
as if its words are the pills
for her fever. In the TV
the latest numbers of the victims
pop up. I have already told you,
Grief, I have brought my set 
of sadness. I shall report 
and block your calls. 

I shake my head, know 
she will call from other digits.
Again. Again.

Lore From the Pandemic- II

One man clads in dust of the cottons 
and holding his head in one piece
with a red-sun headband
drags a chopped thin tree 
by an ever-fraying rope.

Two branches left on the corpse
raise their ends and sway and swing
two or three inches above the tar and turf. 
The man and the tree are one presently.

It scurry; its two stings look venomous;
they wage a war against any onlooker.
White oleanders whisper about the season.
The fragrant snow-petals obliterate
the lane's imperfections.

The creature hisses, breathes, almost
disintegrates into a man and one tree.
I see the glimpse of something known,
and then it becomes a myth once more.

Dhobi, The Laundry Man

The man who gathers dirty laundry
door to door, and returns those
in neat rectangles of pressed sun
disappears during the pandemic.

His last week's due remains unpaid
between the pages of my logbook.
Their numbers smell of citrus, grass, 
cycles running along the patches of green.

His phone - the network says - is outside.
Of human reach? 
Sometimes I dwell on the wrinkles
of sadness I wear.
On most of the days I run my hands
to appease the creases in my feelings.

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