Shalim M Hussain


One claw on a bar,
and the crow
lifts the other to his lips
and blows the day's first puff.
His view races the smoke through the fencing,
conductors spank their buses on-
"Dighalipukhuri. Dighalipukuri."

Long pond.

He stares at a chirping he can never touch,
at entwined buds,
and pigeons floating together in air bubbles,
and lovebirds in love rows,
their heads under their wings.
His downy heart bleeds over the bliss beneath.

At home his vulture
awaits him,
the spear in her hair and
a carcass in her beak.

Here he makes his day long,
sometimes swoops down and scoops up a
beakful of love from the face of
Love like the blushes of hyacinths
skimmed behind the boats.
The trees smell of Duryodhana's incense
and Bhanumati's anklets still tinkle beneath the paddle-boats,
her turmeric and potfuls of milk
and wedding tears
and a few thousand years of love.

He will return to blow the night's last mists.

(Dighalipukhuri,literally 'long pond', situated in Guwahati is an ancient pond frequented by lovers. It is connected by an underground tunnel to the river Brahmaputra and was supposedly dug for Duryodhana and Bhagadatta's daughter Bhanumati's wedding bath.)

At Anwar's Wedding Reception, December 2009

"I fear gatherings",
Said the girl at the wedding party.
”The howls and screams of new children,
The sweat and dust trickling down
Swirls of bamboo spears
Into cauldrons of flesh.
Yellowed wounds of cauliflowers,
The flight of worms of ash.
The wishing and greeting,
And silent flirting in corners,
Old men clustered around dead stories,
The blaze of red saris,
The whiteness of beards and caps
And rice bubbling in mad milk
Pyramids of chopped timber,
The shit and pee of overnight guests
The brownness of burnt gravy.
The glass eyes of perverted fish.
And fistfuls of salt
Showered in benediction.


"Since His last feast".


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