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Submission for April Issue, 2023 (Vol. 4, No. 1) is going on. Last date for submission is 31 March, 2023.

AFTER THE ACT

 


AFTER THE ACT

-       Tapan Kumar Pradhan (India)

 

Suddenly 

 

The woman is no more a woman in your arms

only a bundle of flesh, bones, sweat and cold skin

smelling of damp clothes, soap, dry leaves, dead mice

floating in a deserted bathing ghat of Varanasi.

 

The eyes are no more the expansive blue ocean

you longed to dive in and bathe all day all night,

and swim to the end of earth, dissolving yourself

like humble lump of salt melting in a tear of ecstasy.

 

The breasts are no more the shy slopes of a snow peak

you climbed slowly, plucking a red cherry on your way,

squeezing the soft snow in your bare palms softly,

letting it melt away like butter in orange morning light.

 

The silk soft hairs are no more the misty waterfalls

In dark forests of your dreams, where you ambled alone

amid apple blossoms, damp leaves, rainbow butterflies

by a crystal stream resounding with a cuckoo’s calls.

 

The arm pits are no more the moist caves of darkness

mossy with warm weeds, smelling vaguely of musk

of deer lurking in a crag nearby, you followed closely

with nose alone, blindfolded, clambering on all fours.

 

And the moans are no more the faint sighs you heard

at midnight from fireplace of a distant mountain cave

guarded by a woman wearing only a dry bark, turning

raw meat over yellow flame for her man waiting inside…

 

as you look out of the window, morning’s first light striking your face,

and become aware of the local train’s screech, smoke from chimneys,

and the dry bare breasts of a woman picking garbage from roadside,

suddenly you think of every woman as a mother, or sister, not knowing

 

why -

 

and you think of the countless men who would have made love last night

to their women, having showered them with kisses and eternal promises,

and the billions of birds and animals who would be making love right now

in sunny grass fields, at their heights of ecstasy, oblivious of the realities

of life, of destiny, of tomorrow’s hunger, and of the cold inevitable death

 

and all your visions, passions, aspirations

go away suddenly, like the flaccid resignation

of a marauding lover, suddenly gone limp

 

after the act.

 

****