Perfect Storm I look at my palm It’s full of scars, crosses and half-lines Neither money nor the life line is full Index finger bends a lot Which means I’m not rigid enough Fingers of my feet are not feminine A desirable bride would have Different set of feet. These are my favourite though They ran through the paddy fields Bent over the pond and picked lotus Danced in the rain To collect rhythm That would later become baskets Of rose and gardenia, I now share with monsoon I hold them in the palm of my hands Doors of the seashore-huts open Children run out They come running towards me, The water and salt The wooden boat And the grey bundle of clouds They come running towards a perfect storm The storm that will destroy the lines of nothingness From every little palm
Lighthouse I saw you beside the ocean, counting steps Found you inside the lighthouse, Seasoning waves Watched you through the storm, floating off the shore In my silent cry I became the moonlight mirror And touched you—pining for more
Obituary It’s easy to write an obituary Of someone you left unheard On a footbridge The story of an unfinished tree Brewed with pain of freshly broken leaves Untold Drops of rain on your shoes and tie Half dried by an oblivious bite Of a half-eaten moon Unseen It’s easy to write off somebody With an obituary A death that happened By some careless notes of time
Summer A well is built beside a temple Between straw houses Footsteps are born and erased Like daughters And wild flowers Moon-shaped souls Serene, yet dry Walk behind their shadows Along the fishermen’s cry
It was I The girl who was burnt for dowry today It was I The girl foetus inside her body which was burnt too It was I The new-born girl who was abandoned in a trash bag It was I They were nobody’s daughter The girl who was not paid her daily wage It was I The girl who was paid less than her husband It was I The girl who was not allowed to join a job As her husband’s boss It was I They were nobody’s sister The girl who was raped by colleagues It was I The girl who was molested by an auto driver It was I The girl who was pushed to bed by a filmmaker It was I They were nobody’s lover The girl who wasn’t privileged by her right to education It was I The girl who never got the privacy of a healthy sanitation It was I The girl who went from one kitchen to the other It was I They were nobody’s pride The girl who couldn’t practise her right to marry It was I The girl who couldn’t practise her right to separate It was I The girl who suffered a fruitless marriage It was I They were nobody’s wife The girl who was sold by one It was I The girl who was bought by thousands It was I The girl who made herself a sex-slave It was I They were nobody’s friend The girl who sold her womb It was I The girl who sold her baby It was I The girl who made her baby an orphan It was I They were nobody’s shelter The girl who was tortured in custody It was I The girl who was beaten by a homemaker It was I The girl who danced in a strip club It was I They were nobody’s armour The girl who gulped her tears It was I The girl who couldn’t shed one It was I The girl who got a slap on her tears It was I They were nobody’s precious The girl who slept on a footpath It was I The girl who slept in old-age home It was I The girl who was kept hungry by her son It was I They were nobody’s world Still, the girl who refuses to lose It is I The girl who refuses to drown or burn It is I The girl who fights back to victory It is I The girl who wants to float and fly It is I The girl who is the lover of a gnome It is I The girl who forgets the obscure junctions It is I The girl who pushes the darkness back into oblivion It is I It is me who takes your hand and walks with you We make a destiny through the late night dew. It was I and other poems are © Dolonchampa Chakraborty
Dolonchampa Chakraborty graduated in Calcutta and now studies Human Resources in Cornell University, Ithaca. She writes poetry in Bengali and has published two books of poetry. She is a freelance translator and editor working for United Nations, Doctors Without Borders and several other organisations. Her poems have been published in prestigious Indian Literature, a bi-monthly journal by the Sahitya Akademi of India among others. She has been a panelist in the Samanvay Lit Fest. For two years, she has edited The Nilgiri Wagon, a literary journal that focuses on translating literature of Indian and other languages into English. She is passionate about languages. Currently, she is learning Kashmiri and leading a translation project of Syrian Poetry into Bengali.