I live in a house by a river
that turns muddy after every
downpour. It carries the debris
of broken plastics and dead leaves.

It flows with stories overheard from
otters, fish, turtles and monitor
lizards that live within it, munching,
crunching each other as per needs.

Kingfishers and herons dive,
competing with brahminy kites.
Parrots, koels, mynahs, orioles too
confide in the waters that flow…

But the strangest stories grow not
out of stray dogs that come and go,
or pet poodles, cats, rats that walk
the riverbank — not even from moles.

They grow from trees of lightning
strikes as rain shatters the embankment,
eroding, flushing the land. They grow
from fuel-filled rides that soar the skies.

They grow from human hearts that glow
stories flowing away from the river to
plastic dreams of skyscrapers scraping
the air of freshness spewed by nature.

Will humans remain to hear the climax
of the tale? Or will we have evolved out
of sapien-hood to a new nomenclature —
Homo being the only remnant of our past?

Mitali Chakravarty founded an online site which has published its first hard copy anthology, Monalisa No Longer Smiles: An Anthology of Writings from across the World. She has recently brought out her first collection of poetry, Flight of Angsana Oriole: Poems and has an earlier book of humorous essays on living in China where she spent eight years, In the Land of DragonsRead other articles by Mitali.