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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