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Your love was sickeningly sour and other poems by Zinia Mitra

Art by Galiya Popova
Art by Galiya Popova

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 Poems

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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