Friday, March 1, 2019





Faltering, stumbling

Unlettered years

The promise of a runny fish curry

The promise of a puja with rituals learnt

With stale flowers refreshed

Unexpected Decembers

In search of a home where reunions never happen anymore.

A memoir springs out of nowhere.

Starting in the damp courtyard where it was all a child’s play--

Worshipping the false Gods, rhythmic reminders in shrines,

Learning about primal yearnings

And the smell of burning incense,

Shaking the dust from truant feet.


A memoir springs out of nowhere--

From the storm churning in the nomad mind,

From the deceased mother’s recipes of shaak bhaja

And the reminders of brewing it all well,

The ripples of salt and the landscape of Bengali tongue,

The yin and yang of teapots and pressure cooker.

A memoir springs out of nowhere—

From the body where the first clods of red earth appeared

To the body that rained, frosted and then thawed again,

between continents.

From the sweaty hands, losing control over

the verdant staircases of girlhood,

and the alien steering wheels.


The scent of New York, Nebraska, Kansas,

Texas, Florida, Arkansas

The colors and strokes of four walls, of makeshift hotel stays.

Metamorphosis of storms and crisp skies

breaking up into home, shelter, refuge.

A memoir springs out of nowhere—

From the urgency of kilometers

to the stoic acceptance of miles,

From the night shifts in between transits

to the smudged settling in adopted homes.

Shaak Bhaja: A Bengali recipe with fried spinach and potatoes

Puja: Worshipping the Hindu Gods and Goddesses, a daily ritual


A pale, dusky afternoon

Has stored all her hysteric sobs

And the dusk of a river Ganga

Settling itself like a young girl

Getting a hang of her newly worn sari,

Arranging the pleats.

In yet another part of the world,

Distant, but in the same hemisphere

The boats drift away from one another,

And find themselves river-less, anchor-less,

Counting on the submissive waves

in the middle of nowhere.

Somewhere, in the nameless, moist paddy fields

A juvenile pair of feet trample over a wrong bed of crops.

The morning sun had fallen over an open courtyard

Round, succulent like the full-grown navel orange.

And like a jolt flanking her, she remembered the ones

Who had wiped away the dewdrops of her girlhood days.

The divergent roads leading to the wide stretch

Of grassy patches blow away into shreds,

And she feels she is no more in the earth’s grassland.

The sky is a constellation of nameless fields

And pale, dusky afternoons of dust, soot

and a speck of memory

The dusk of the river Ganga, her lonesome trails

Around the earth’s orbit.



She came home to the clouds and the sea

Twilight filtering through her deep, dark tresses.

She parked her foot between the rocks

And saw their skin, peeling, the ashen clouds

Melting over the horizon.

She came home to the shore and the winds

Tumbling away, the sea howling, unzipped,

The sound of surf breaking the quiet,

The darkness, the way shades are drawn.


The dream of the sea,

Tiptoeing around the stillness of her body

Helped her flow.

The tidal push and pull, holding on tight

Gripping her nearness, falling over her, gushing.

The music began, she was up on her toes,

Twirling, spinning, jumping, leaping.

The dream of the sea, blue, the burst and cackle of the waves

Cold, wet, running through the hot, arid sand,

Pink, her breath, buoyant as balloons,

Purple, the color of the clouds, rebounding,

Tugging and pulling, knocking over the sea.


Licking up the waters and the shore,

A dream she would be living, seeing

Where life came into being, cascading,

New ripples jumping, love foaming

As bubbles, the earth’s song,

The expanding rhythm,

Coursing through her toes.

She was home, to the clouds and the sea

The touch of her feet, the curls of the ocean

Rumbling, rolling. She drew shapes, shades,

Swirls, cracks, force, back and forth,

Dreaming of the sea.


On Thanksgiving Day
I am thankful to life

For the mad swell of the familiar monsoon rain,

The mud of Asharh-Shravan,

clinging to my philandering skin still.
For the wintry mornings and the
Nicotine smell I remember of my father
And our mad bursts of bickering and
A silly wellspring of love that erupted,

we didn’t know why, or how.
For the surya namaskar mantra and the adya stotra

that my mother would chant unfailingly each morning,

my eager eyes and ears, revealing themselves, by and by,

from the masks of innocence
Getting ready for the carnal, ruthless, world

where melodies and dreams still claimed their space.

For the wounds that slowly but surely turned to requiems
For the quiet deaths of many kisses, of many mangled breaths,

Of many a sugar-coated love, hovering around
Like vain spirals of smoke.
For the closed doors of secrets that opened one by one,

Me signing a pact with each of them, smoldering in my knowing,

muttering and then, shutting down, nonchalant.

For the girlhood lures and endless, endless ramblings

that turned to secret refuge with the passage of time.
For the journey of skin, flesh, blood and madness,

elusive dreams that could never be mine.
For the occasional cuddles and volatile cloudburst

that has made me a woman
For the journey of a nameless darkness,

My old friend and its deepest silence.
On Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful to God
Who made me an ebony moon, a lover

Ebbing into darkness, a starry-eyed mother,
Happily insane and fiery,

writhing in thousand deaths and rebirths.

Asharh-Shravan: Two months of the monsoon/rainy season in Bengal, India.
Surya Namaskar: Sanskrit sloka invoking the Sun God
Adya Stotra: Sanskrit Sloka invoking the creative feminine energy of Durga, Kaali, Chandi

All Rights Reserved.
January 30, 2019

LOPAMUDRA BANERJEE is an Indian-Bengali poet and author living in Texas, USA. She is the author of the Journey Awards 2015 winning memoir ‘Thwarted Escape’, and the critically acclaimed poetry collection ‘Woman And Her Muse’. She has translated Nobel laureate Tagore’s selected works of fiction as ‘The Broken Home And Other Stories’ and two dramas of Tagore, ‘Tales of Transformation’ (English translation of Tagore’s Chitrangada and Chandalika). Among her latest works are a poetry film in collaboration with two other poets and an anthology on gender violence titled ‘Muffled Moans Unleashed’ (as co-editor). A recipient of the Woman Achiever Award 2018 instituted by International Women’s Short Film Festival, The Reuel International Prize for poetry (2017) and for translation (2016), she wears many hats. She is also a featured poet/artist performing poetry/spoken words in Texas (at Dark Moon Poetry, Houston PoetryFest, among others).