The Sea Comes at 3:48 #1

Sitting by the empty sea beach of Orissa —
so empty you can’t even see the sea —
I open up my wounds to a stranger.
Like a rebel in a war,
he has a handkerchief tied around his face.
The empty sea provokes such stereotypes.

Schoolchildren,
playing near the horizon —
the sea doesn’t meet the sky —
are unabashedly red,
and my mother has been calling me
for the fifth time now.
She’s scared my stranger
might stitch up
my vulnerability.

What doesn’t go well with this atmosphere
is the long queue of bikes —
one has the flag of a political party.
In this sea-shell, silver emptiness,

who cares for a flag?

12:20,
you’re somewhere in Darjeeling.
Yesterday was your day,
today is not mine.
Sitting across the political party, the flag, the men,
I’m thinking of you —

At 3:48, the sea is yet to arrive.

 

The Sea Comes at 3:48 #2

Under the awfully nauseous sky,
the sea is yellow.
A fishing-boat going far past the horizon,
I can see its light,
almost a firefly,
and the waves receding from my feet
forming thin contour lines;
slow,
steady,
like a forest approaching.

Someone turns on the neon lights,
the water moves like cream —
gholatey;*
Walking back to the hotel,
I notice a goat hanging around —
the invasion of light is insufferable,
and all I can think of
is mutton curry.
Whether the goat can give me that,
I care not.

You’re probably somewhere in Lolegaon,
drinking brandy,
frowning over a book
while my fingers form an arch
in this darkness.
I walk under it,
eat into it,
feel it,
and fall asleep.

Sitting on my little knoll,
I am looking out for snakes,
and getting calls of election.
It’s January again, remember?

The neon lights are everywhere,
the sand is on fire,
so before I forget,
and you forgive,

the sea forgot to come at 3:48.

 

The Sea Comes at 3:48 #3

We didn’t visit Budibalam today,
where my great-grandfather
was arrested,
and later hanged,
after a combat with the British.
Like a bonsai,
the river has forgotten it’s own natural flow.

Sitting at Panchlingeshwar,
the sound of the spring in the only thing alive
in this wilderness.
Strangers walk by
as I sit hanging from the corner of the hill.
They stare
as I peep into my bleeding
nicked wrist.

The palace ruins of Harishchandra
remind me of autocracy and extended boundary lines –
with a sore throat,
as heavy as sleepy eye-lids,
I’m shouting my life out about the parliamentary
and the People’s —
It’s been seven hours,

and I haven’t seen the sea today.
My phone battery is almost dead.
I have been deluged by the 8:30 darkness of Orissa —
on my little knoll,
overgrown with weeds and jhayubon,*
I have found my ruin.

Two years from now,
I’ll bring you here with me.
You can find your own ruin somewhere
across the sea,
and laugh about it,
wondering how both of us never knew
where to keep our flying feet,
whether to wait in silence
or wait for jeopardy.

Tomorrow,
Ahana,
the sea arrives at 3:48, yet again.

 

Sahana Mukherjee

Sahana Mukherjee

Sahana Mukherjee is an undergraduate student at Jadavpur University. Her works have previously been published in Muse India, Café Dissensus, Economic and Political Weekly, Bangalore Review, etc.

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