Poetry: Gopal Lahiri

Gopal Lahiri
Orphan Memories

I open a diary I use in university
and I see her handwriting at the edges,
much precise text,
each of her ‘T’ looks like tiny clove,
the splendor of the tuition days goes past,
the pages are now yellow leaves.
I write letters and store in a sleep box,
of fountains, raindrops, moonlit bloom,
dreams a little,
always waiting to pick her up
time and again
from the street corner near the park.
I never think restraint is my thing.
setting against the tenderness,
my thoughts touch her shoulder,
her luminous eyes.
The aroma of the coffee and the smell
of burnt toast always pin our whispers.
There is no sense perhaps in what
we converse in silence,
what we keep even of ourselves,
we lean towards each other in the library,
in the twilight glow
drawing love lines in our palms over and over and over.
It’s the new sameness that I count now
innocence gathers between the texts
I know nothing to come after this,
I see the trees beyond the window frame
dahlias shed their petals
white, red, yellow, aqua.
Standing in front of a mirror in one
summer evening, looking
for both hands and her look more immense than sky,
I still remember,
everything falls apart for her in the
time of dark shadows of plague
and I take my hands to contain both in me
and my hearts, and my orphan memories.


It is ancient, it is a magical composition,
convince the moon to shine in our glow.
Pulsing brighter and brighter in turn,
how cruel are the hands of pestilence,
It’s mostly us but not always, how many
fingers find and peel them layer by layer.
And now we hear our breathing
the fullness of me, the fullness of you,
No matter, in our wounds, in our hunger
we collapse into one another in distress.
It moves my heart to see my face
simmering in your wide eyes
We devour the night sky, the brimming stars
refuse to forget each other’s presence.

Bio: Gopal Lahiri is an India based, bilingual poet, critic, editor, writer and translator with 29 books published, including eight solo/jointly edited books. His poetry is published across anthologies and journals of India and abroad. His poems are translated in 16 languages and published in 12 countries. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prize, for poetry in 2021. He is the recipient of Setu Excellence Award, US, 2020.

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