Poems by Anindita Sengupta
How I wanted jeans, even if second-hand, hand-me-down, bland as cooked beans. They were rough blue, patterned, not the sort in fashion. The jeers upturned
my flowers. I growled and ran like hell, as if for my life. Schoolyard laughter is a time bomb. I saw flecks on green. Windflowers. I swam, the sea sheathing me like scales, sputtered up to a house, its shine like a nightlight on my pillow, a poison flower, a passion. The city erupted with all its suspicions. The seaside expanded with all its lovers. I slept with the vermilion elephant on my sheets, grew to a brilliant reverence for first things. For fitting. For fitting in. How lustre slipped and fell around my hips, rough as misgivings.
The air in her lungs is a destitute pigeon. Running implies movement
so she runs. The days become a conflagration.
It is winter.
She sits alone in a movie hall, light streaming through one door
as if it is a mine shaft. On screen, the window of a cell. The sky leans in
through vertical bars. Outside, five boys rig a billboard.
The draught of wind that starts on this street follows her across the city
where Golden Trumpets string the air like festive lights.
Allamanda cathartica, she whispers.
The watchman knows she lacks people to celebrate with. He musses
A cat on the sill becomes a lion. Inside, the light is green
and white. All night, the cupboard hunkers full of birds. The walls grow arms.
Morning comes with a neighbour’s hacking cough, water rattling into a bucket,
the sounds of another day to be lived.
Anindita Sengupta is the author of City of Water (Sahitya Akademi, 2010) and Walk Like Monsters (Paperwall, 2016). The above poems appear in the author's second collection Walk Like Monsters (Paperwall, 2016).