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Bidyut Bhusan Jena
Bidyut Bhusan Jena


 

STILL NO LETTERS

Still no letters!
A silence resides the letterbox - 
the silence that holds a room together
after a dead body is removed,
the silence that inhabits
stones once worshipped,
amid dead leaves, under
a film of undisturbed dust,
in the unfinished tonic bottles and pills
that occupy the forbidden corner of a shelf- 
the spider’s home.


Still no letters!

Shall I replace the cracked walls with
doors and windows, and 
fix thresholds to wait on?
Shall I open the secret chambers?
But the keys are not with me;
and what strange locks are these!
Where are you - 
the keeper of my keys?
Where have you vanished 
with the bunch of keys?
See, since how long have I been
waiting with these rusted locks and
a locked chamber of a heart?
Return, for once at least,
just to return those keys!
Old keys are they
for these old locks!


Still no letters!

 
A FILLED VOID
 
She,
at her tea stall
under the old banyan tree
at the end of the village,
was lost in her elsewhere!
Her tear-squeezed eyes
were sunk in their own void.
He died four days ago!
That day, he was yet to brush his teeth,

yet to apply mustard oil on his hair,
yet to go to the village pond to bathe,
and yet to drink his morning tea.
But they were in a hurry to
take him
away to the village cremation ground.
She didn't cry; she didn't object.
What a strange block of bone, flesh
and skin that was!
But his smell was in the pillow,
in the bed sheet, in the house,
and in her!
They took him away
leaving her behind.

 
People say that he burnt well.
In no time his newly dyed hair
and moustache melted in the fire;
melted too his skin, his moles and
the scar on his right eyebrow.
But they had to smash
his skull with a staff.
The mad vagrant, Ramu,
was also there at the cremation

with his emaciated dog!
 
The sound of the kerosene stove
brought her back to her stall.
Today, the customers
appeared irritated with her, for
the tea was watery and sugarless.
In no time everyone left her

to her tea stall, kerosene stove,
glass tumblers and flies.

Through the chinks,
where the uneven planks of wood hesitantly met,
she was lost in the sun-soaked empty road,
on which, some twenty years ago,
he had brought her to his house!


 
THOSE MEMORIES
 
Like dust
those memories settle on me,
bridging wrinkles,
absorbing waters 
around my eyes,
unheard, unnoticed
they settle on me.
I do not disturb them;
I let them be.

One day they will bury me!
 
 
YOU, ME AND THE RAIN
 
Do you remember,
how years ago,
on a deviant afternoon,
you and I had worn the rain for a while?
An unplanned walk it was
through an intensely brief rain!
We walked and walked
till the Krishnachura and beyond,
with the rain between us,
and the words
Intertwined, inchoate!

♣♣♣END♣♣♣

Issue 71 (Jan-Feb 2017)

Poetry
  • Ambika Ananth – Editorial Note
  • Arnab Mukhopadhyay
  • Bidyut Bhusan Jena
  • Madhab Chandra Jena
  • Maithreyi Karnoor
  • Mithlesh Kumar Chaudhary
  • Robert Beveridge
  • Sujit Mukherjee
  • Surbhi Goel
  • TS Hidalgo
  • Varun Rajaram