When you and I are old:
I, aching still with unconsummated love;
you, benign in your companionship,
will sit in wicker chairs on my balcony
on whole April evenings.
We would gaze at the moon–
the chaste beloved of a zillion poets,
Cynthia in her solitude. We might sip
my own homemade summer wine…
ancient dark pink grapes crushed
in a tall glass. It would be my trick:
to touch my mouth to the exact place
you had fastened your lips: and fancy
a kiss at every sip.
I, Circe to all,
still imagine myself to be,
your ever-faithful Penelope.
And when I am no longer there
to share summer wine with you.,
the saki shall turn down an empty glass
near our book of verse beneath the bough.
When we are old, Odysseus,
we shall drink to the stars.
You came from the land of saffron.
Zaffran, you uttered,
in syllables of crescent-romance.
I still recall a soft dulcet scent
that I grew to associate with your skin.
You gave me a packet of the crimson fluff.
Expensive, said you. Precious, said I.
I added it to milk and watched white turn gold.
Today, my land wears saffron robes.
Don’t wear other colors, they say,
other colors belong elsewhere.
I think of you and the packet of saffron.
I wonder at the color of absence.
Jagari Mukherjee is a poet, editor, and reviewer based in Kolkata, India. Her poems and other creative pieces have been published in different venues both in India and abroad. She has authored three collections of poetry, a chapbook and two full-length volumes. Her latest solo book, The Elegant Nobody, was published by Hawakal Publishers in January 2020. Her e-book Wine-Kissed Poems (2020), co-authored with Dr. Ampat Koshy, was an Amazon No. 1 bestseller. Her poems and other creative pieces have been published in different venues both in India and abroad. She is a gold medalist in English Literature, a Best of the Net 2018 nominee, DAAD scholar from Technical University, Dresden, Germany, and a Bear River Writers’ Conference alumna. She is the winner of the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2018 for Book Review, Poeisis Award for Excellence in Poetry 2019, and also the recipient of Reuel International Prize for Poetry 2019, among other awards. She recently won the Women Empowered Gifted Poet (Powerful Emergent Voice) Award. Jagari is the Founder and Chief Executive Editor of the literary journal, EKL Review.