Two Poems by Basudhara Roy Chatterjee

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He’ll be late tonight, he says.
As usual, it’s something ‘urgent’.
By now, one has heard
that word often enough
and each time, from him.

I gingerly roll it across my tongue.
Ere gent. Before man?
Some unarguable logic
must preside herein, I shrug, for
in my world no one thing is urgent.

Not a bit, however, can be ignored.
There's everything calling me at once --
dream, dishwasher, book, bread, 
love, laundry, classroom, closet,
wars, windows, pudding, poetry.

How I wish that early in history
some woman had bought /ˈɜː.dʒənt/
from the lexicon as a threat
against other imposed tasks till one
arrived at them on one’s own.

In my non-urgency, however, I smile,
deeply partial to the French knot of my life
over the running stitch of his, sanguine
that in dance, grace alone matters
and return to origin is always a privilege.

In Love’s Name

a land marauded
a language left fallow
a state scissored to slivers

dignity retracted
letters re-directed
maps contoured to opportunity

the fish-body slit open each time
at that one place near the heart
to coax what is inside

and each time the same 
unceremonious declaration
that it was not worth it


In love’s name
he asks for a body,
a deed, a gate, a title,
a password, a date.

He is pleased
that I agree,
not realizing 
these matter little to me.

In the bazaars of history
they have asked for greater things
in love – a revenge, a thumb,
a trial by fire, a kingdom.

Where I come from,
love is a shock of red
on the krishnachura bark,
plentiful and unasked.

Where I come from,
love is not wise.
It will barter all for peace
no matter the price.
Basudhara Roy teaches English at Karim City College, Kolhan University, Chaibasa. Author of three collections of poems, the latest being Inhabiting, she writes because she must test words on her tongue, pulse, moods, agitation, abstraction and satire. Her recent poetry is featured in the Usawa Literary Review, EPW, Outlook, Madras Courier and The Dhakha Tribune among others. She loves, rebels, overthinks and reviews from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand.