Summer 2024: Antara Mukherjee

Antara Mukherjee
At the cusp

 

That summer

unbridled a kalbaishakhi

on our delta door

and three terracottas landslided

a quarter of the sky

over my bed,

soaking with petulance.

 

I gazed above

at that biasness of an open eye

crackling a threat

on our soggy sorrows

perimetered by our tribulations

while the fronds outside ruffled

and wrestled the jargon of electric poles,

bird nests, and langurs,

driving them away

jubilant.

 

As the wailing wind

lashed hailstones

that turned water on my tropical skin,

our home floated in broken pots.

But then you entered,

a greasy hurricane in hand simmering

a purple distraction

wide

as your silent promise.

***

 

Meandering Murals

 

 

                                       This afternoon scuttled

           in a trail of carpenter ants

                                     is bailed by a floating market

                                 of cirrus clouds

unravelling cities and worries

curating murals calico

                         fleeced into songs, carousal, tapestry

                                                               calling out to my summer window

         where it unpacks a mane, hooves, withers                

                                                              running into a woman on her haunches

                                                                                                       stirring a pot mingling

                                                                                                       with the muzzle still prominent

                                       making her more an animal

                                         she wants to mount, ride

those edges fraying a little

                          her chore disintegrated

                                       as they come       apart

                                             

                                                 drifting           into        another

                                                                

                                                                      

                                                                    tale

***

 

Negotiations

 

 

A warp of wild grass in     our purple kanakambara 

                               tangles

the hack of garden shears

into a weft and woof, wild;

for another waft.

 

A dog named Sindoora

by the color of her red collar,

or her hematite curl on the floor,

or her clotted wounds,

licks water heaving her last.

 

Our spell of summer

dissolves into the night

with your resolve

to hold us together, longer

as you leave behind

a string of purple kanakambaram

—weightless on my palm.

***

 

Bio: Antara Mukherjee is a writer based in Mumbai with an interest in the human experience and its dichotomy. Her short stories and poems have appeared in Kitaab, Muse India, Sahitya Akademi, The Chakkar, Usawa Literary Review, Joao-Roque Literary Journal, Verse Of Silence, The Alipore Post, Madras Courier, Hakara and the Yearbook of Indian Poetry, among others. She has co-written a play that premiered at the Bangalore International Centre in 2022 and she was one of the participants of the Kolam Writing Workshop in 2023. Her manuscript was selected for a mentorship program by Asian Women Writers, a platform by US&UK agents to recognise upcoming women writers from Asia. Recently, she has been selected as one of the writers for a fully funded residency program at Himalayan Writing Retreat.
 
She is represented by Jayapriya Vasudevan.

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