Spring 2010

Table of Contents - Vol. VI, No. 1


Poetry    Fiction    Reviews   

Avik Chanda



The way you remember a bough of Shiuli
not by its scent, but by the fragile way
she used to hold it in old shaky hands
knuckle-veined fingers like braids
from a sun-bleached basket of cane,
as she sank her head into the dip of it.

Suddenly, you want it all back.
The sun. The moth-lit late afternoons,
the years, a silver-haired voice chiming

your name, till you awaken.



Frost, again, on the windows
like glazed glass in church:
as if angels hovered timidly
in the gilded beyond,

as if we could still be saved.


Agnus Dei

There are those marvels of sound wave and acoustics, whose invention
can stir the sleep-eyed, chill-dark hour before daybreak,
wake you, shake you leaf-awed, make you tremble and bend,
lie prostrate at the bedside, swearing that there is a God.
Like the opening bars of the Missa Solemnis or the muezzin’s first
call to prayer. Or the invocation of Mahalaya,
the very word drawing up a sepia-reel,
childhood, Calcutta, a generation in the 70’s
waking to the shudder of an annunciation --
the Goddess appearing, bloodied, from the mountains,
ten-armed, striding a lion, taking the evil bull by its horns --
all this, conjured by a solitary voice on the radio;
part-prophet, part oracle, rises starkly against a rising sun
the silhouette of a man at the pulpit. Birendra Krishna Bhadra.

Now, twenty years on, you wake in the dark to a damp October
and play the recording from a tape. Speak to the dead, again.
Take a cold shower, make tea. Prepare yourself. Remember.

Later, call up people at work -- saying you’ll take the day off.


© Avik Chanda



Poetry    Fiction    Reviews   

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