Your love was sickeningly sour
Your love was sickeningly sour
as you tinkled your long cocktail glasses
ice-cube cold, a slice of lemon
flavored my long skirt days
of uncombed hair drill emotions.
You trimmed your plants every Sunday
peeled oranges at the breakfast table
the green-tinted juice glasses grew red
under your touch, the skins squeezed into my eyes
white sugar cubes out of fairy tales
turning each meal bitter, my favorite sea-blue
a little deeper every day
as my scars got older.
The events matured me like the cacti unclipped as I learned
to love myself, shielding her from your words, the disowned girl
with faded frock forgiving your curls, glancing back
from somewhere up the steps
across the long wind-ridden platform
where red and blue trains come and go to unknown destinations
and a lone spider swings from her gossamer thread.
We adore things hidden
We adore things hidden, our personal
pains are our deepest love, we return
to its Cimmerian waters that slumber underneath
our unblemished green, we love
the hidden scratches by pampas that reveal
slowly afterward, the wind’s secret scribble on
lotus leaves, Nature’s love letters, pieces of dreams
broken by bird’s shrill we cannot share, cryptograms
in mountain lights, water scrawling notes
on our naked bodies, the silk lining against our skin that engulfs us
beneath our dresses, unanticipated small changes
in pheran pockets, mother’s faces in the daughter, father’s
ways in the son’s, magic codes in raindrops, yesteryears
of our earth in a flower, the deeper peace of the roots, sparkling
countenance in split water, dried roses once hidden
inside old notebooks. We read our favorite poems secretly
like our hidden loves when no one looks our way.
I open the door
I open the door and see the backs of their heads
climb down. Heads briefly turn – only eyes
say goodbye, eyes that scream freedom. The keys
in my hand feel cold. A chillness tingles my spine. Alone again
roaches crawl out of my kitchen. They conceal their solitudes
like me. Solitude implies freedom
for the transcendentalists. My solitude
is like the green grass beneath my feet, the consciousness
of the trees, the shared oxygen-carbon-dioxide cycle that runs
through my cells, the day dims and I feel
the moon sliding like a fly
on the slippery floor of the night sky, waking the stars
the windows open their eyes
to the kitchens around my house. The aroma of food.
I enjoy watching women cook
under yellow kitchen lights. They cover their heads
and wear aprons. The street dogs
bark louder. The trees more vibrant now
emanate a seductive scent from their ebony branches
spiders emerge from my crevices and cross my face
with their sticky legs.
Quietness, rapture, water dripping
from leaves, each drop carries life.
Zinia Mitra is a teacher at the University of North Bengal and serves as the Director of the Centre for Women's Studies. She has authored several books, including "Indian Poetry in English: Critical Essays," "Poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra: Imagery and Experiential Identity," and "The Concept of Motherhood in India: Myths, Theories and Realities." She has also written on topics such as Fourth Wave Feminism, Social Media, and (Sl)Activism. Zinia Mitra has served as a co-editor for "Twentieth Century British Literature: Reconstructing Literary Sensibility and Interact." Her poems have been published in notable national and international journals, including Kavya Bharati, East Lit, Indian Literature (Sahitya Akademi), Asian Signature, Teesta Review, Setu, and Poetry Potion. Her translations have been featured in books and journals, including Indian Literature (Sahitya Akademi). Her poem "Earth" was recognized among the best poems of 2020 edited by hülya n. yılmaz. Additionally, Zinia Mitra is an editorial board member of Teesta Review, an international journal of poetry.
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