The Creative Section (Vol. 5, No. 1) is on its way and will be published by the end of May, 2024.

TWENTY YEARS AFTER

 


TWENTY YEARS AFTER

(Dedicated to “Laxmi”)

-       Tapan Kumar Pradhan (India)

 

Her smile opened up a deep wound

I did not know existed in my old heart

But the years stood as a reefed barrier

Traversed by little suppressed sighs

 

I took a little step forward

And the pink carpet rose to meet me

Along with moist jasmines in her hair

And a tired yellow necklace of gold

A conjugal gift, ah betrayed of old

I could see her dry lips flutter on the floor

As a wriggling shadow jumped up

And hung about my neck

 

Twenty years do make a brutal difference

Hairs start thinning around calloused ears

Hour glass takes on a barrel looking shape

Wrinkles start concealing corners of eyes

 

But certain things had but little changed

Nervous wink in that shy sideways smile,

Quirky angle in the gait, tremor in voice,

Toes drawing little funny circles on the floor

Bosom wide enough for a boat to pass through

But I had left those shores long, long ago

 

Between her shadow and mine

Simmered a gulf of forty uneasy years

Our breaths began to sail slowly across

Ahead, her cheeks stretched out like a meadow

Where I started playing my ancient tunes

 

A muscle twitched in her left calf

As my shadow on her face quavered

Like a fish in a hoop

With eyes closing in

From the caverns of her hollow mouth

 

A long history beckoned.

******