2. SHASHTI

SUDEEP SEN

 

Durga’s light fragrance in Delhi’s night air —
a bracing hint of late autumn.
             Incense-smoke waft, spiral effortlessly —
its perfume mingling with new-spun silk
sarees draping bodies —
                                      fluid and idol-struck.
 
You pick up the old threads
             across many oceans in a land faraway,
where the afternoon air is similarly crisp,
                                      where leaves are turning
from green to yellow to gold — rust and incarnadine —
                          blood’s love-promise to be kept
for a future fleeting meeting —
             for a dream that is yet to be fulfilled.
 
                                                                 But for now,
fantasy is real, jovial and feather-light —
                                       as are the elements outside.
Your heart skips a beat in joy’s frolic — yearning.
 
Breathe deep the season’s prayer,
arati’s incantatory pulse —
                                      puja’s beautiful delirium.
The shiuli-petal bracelet around your wrist
brands my skin with its leaking invisible orange-hued juice —
                          etching forever, secrets on our skin.
 
 

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