Mallika Bhaumik presents a poem titled ‘Ruins’


We sit down to plan our holiday, post dinner, on a weekend.
Debates and discussions fill the apartment. 
Some stunning photographs of a tree trunk forcing its way up through the dilapidated roof of a temple lure us. 
We zero in on a place renowned for its ruins 
choose from options, estimate the expenses, 
book ourselves with a travel agent. 

I go to meet my mother after a busy month, 
find her older, frailer, confused 
a line of suspicion crossing her eyes 
like a crack of lightning 
The 24 x 7 news channels have convinced her that the world is a treacherous place 
I cannot refute the claim 
She complains about her caregiver 
I try to reason it out with her 
My words become redundant,
fall like autumn's browning leaves 

The shadows of the house grow dense 
A trunk load of brass utensils 
gather dust under her bed 
She does not use my father's room 
death has closed its door.
Soundlessness stirs as I peep in 
the hushed corners tell the tale of trapped tune of 'Ahir Bhairav' awaiting morning rays.
The other rooms wear the gloom of her cotton printed sarees.

I finish the ritual of tea 
while watching the onslaught of time on shelves, book case, sofas, tables.
Our voices and laughter of long ago have formed clouds on the discoloured walls.
I book a cab 
mouth some reassuring words as I leave. 
On my way back, I realise that even before taking the trip 
I have already seen the ruins. 
Mallika Bhaumik was a nominee for the Pushcart Prize for Poetry, 2019.
She is the author of two poetry books ,’Echoes’ (Authorspress New Delhi) and 
’How Not to Remember.’ (Hawakal Publisher)
Her poems, short stories, travelogue, article, interviews have been published in
many well reputed mags and journals and anthologies like Outlook India, Guftugu
Journal, Cafe Dissensus, Harbinger Asylum, Get Bengal, Shot Glass Journal, In
Parentheses Journal, Kitaab, Pangolin Review, Narrow Road Journal, The
Bengaluru Review, Mad Swirl, Madras Courier,The Grey Sparrow Journal, The
Alipore Post, RIC Journal to name a few.