Kolkata Scene

Some days even the white clouds worry me,
the way the sky holds them.
A rickshaw leaves mid-syllable, I am

tender with blades of grass near the Monument.

The molecules are crisp with the arrival of local train,
breaths still unspent, the time has folded them like the blankets.
the hairs curl, quivering, swallowing flies,

stems of colours in the frozen eyes.

An etching of Ganesha in wood, the steady curve
of the birds in flight, let the corners become centres.
the wind learns to lose its way on the pavement,

the red bus is just one horn away.

The river breeze is rarely corrupted by lies
and there will be no more burning inside.

Butterflies in Maidan align with the crease of the petals
each word stations between hope and surrender.

Gopal Lahiri is a bilingual poet, critic, editor, writer and translator with 29 books published, including eight solo/jointly edited books. His poetry and prose are published across more than seventy journals and anthologies globally. His poems are translated in 16 languages. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prize for poetry in 2021. He has received Setu Excellence Award, Pittsburgh, US, in poetry. He is the first recipient of. Jayanta Mahapatra National Award for Literature, 2024. Read other articles by Gopal.