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Nabina Das’ Three Poems

By Nabina Das

Love and Ruse

What if love was not a rose
but it rose from your throbbing pause. Our bile
transformed into sweet sugar drops
you had planted with the kisses that froze.
But these were kisses like the tar on roads
always ready to melt, just waiting for the heat to rise
sticking within their honey-sap the passion-crushed bouquets,
the alif of my heart (actually my breasts), and soaps

blinking on left-alone TV screens when pigeons went to sleep
above living rooms where love was a movie screen to our desires.
What if then love is an allure –
A slight wedge between our touch, your distant laughter
and I think – what’s the way he holds his pen, let me remember –
the shirt button a little askew from my pull, also
all that is I nestling in my sheer sharp longing
and all of you that lures.


when rain in many tongues fall

when our faces smiled it was shower
(ghon boroxun pisol maati maje maje diba pao aju binondo ghore jaao he)

it’s a nook and when our hands touched it was a torrent
(hum to samjhe thay ki barsaat me barsegi sharaab)

we rained on the earth as if cloudburst
(Il pleure dans mon coeur comme il pleut sur la ville)

silk falls
dusk falls
meters fall

Kanha’s feet falling in Radha’s direction
churns the wine of the sky and heart
it rained on my heart that day as it rains on this town this night


Rubaiyat for Kashmir

Kashmir, if this was a night never-ending in your sky
revolution was not one that came easy, rumbling by –
a man tied to the bonnet of an army motor vehicle
is this your bravado, your nationalism violent and sly?

If Saaqi were now to pick up the ruddy cup
she’d only wail today sans ecstasy: O mere rabb!
Where are all the flowers gone in this poison clime,
what pellets do you hurl at us, what hex do you rub?

Seven boys shot before polls by your patriotic guns
our roses withered in your hyper-masculine pun
how shall we mourn those young lives that have no names?
But we shall, win together, in our loves lore and poems in the sun.

Art-work: Intimate Lines by Maulee Senapati

Nabina Das
is the author of four books – a short story collection, The House of Twining Roses: Stories of the Mapped and the Unmapped; a novel, Footprints in the Bajra; and two poetry collections, Blue Vessel, and Into the Migrant City. She co-edited 40 under 40: an anthology of Post-Globalization Poetry with Semeen Ali. She teaches creative writing in universities and workshops.


For more stories, read Café Dissensus Everyday, the blog of Café Dissensus Magazine.

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