The Shawl

by Bibhu Padhi (April 2014)

You died at the end of

winter, earlier this year,

and I didn’t even know.


It is the year’s end:

the end of November.


The cold in Dhenkanal

has my tendons and ligaments

imprisoned in pain..


When you gave me the shawl

four years ago, I thought

it was a gift like any other.


But you knew what it meant to you.

I couldn’t even thank you,

time being what it is


and wouldn’t let me

look back or praise

what was good and precious.


Dreams that we are, we forget

to remember the dreams of others.


But this evening, I wrap the shawl

around these frail shoulders

and watch The Last Samurai.


Stories of win and loss, death

and birth, are here and elsewhere.




Keep us warm, as if it were always

early March, teach us to be strong, like

the sun, fresh like the love we must


donate to all those who need us

in the dreams of our own absence.




Bibhu Padhi's eighth book of poems, Magic Ritual, was published earlier this year. 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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