Not Being Able to Return
by Bibhu Padhi (February 2014)
The tea joint where our gossip
touched the high clouds just
under heaven, has now turned
into a “Foreign Liquor Shop.”
Bula has been dead for a long time now, his
much frequented beetle shop demolished
by the municipality laws, which do not
care for friendships and familiarities.
Homes have been broken into houses;
the absences are felt at distant
clubs, in new friendships, new
business deals and chilled beer.
Your roads are now madly crowded
with faces that look strange
and nervous, like old,
disabled currency notes.
It makes me so sad!
I hear myself telling a friend
a long time ago: “Places, like people,
have to stay on like the old.” Roads,
affectionately hand-planted trees, names.
Cuttack: You have grown,
added to yourself new bones
and skin, new names,
and I feel so sad!
I remember my friends of forty-one years.
The wish for a together-presence
is past, thrown all over
the Arabian sea, the Bay of Bengal.
How can I return to you
when you are
so far from me,
and I am so sad?
Bibhu Padhi's seventh book of poetry, MIGRATORY DAYS A TRAVEL DIARY IN VERSE, was published in 2011. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, the most recent being THE HARPERCOLLINS BOOK OF ENGLISH POETRY (2012). He lives in Bhubaneswar, India.
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