DEEPOR BEEL

Sumana Roy

Photos by Rupam Sarma

In the birds,
I smell winter:
more a khaki skin
than season.
Binoculars change hands,
orange pips snap onto land,
breasts become butterflies
in gardeners’ eyes,
stories swell between thighs.

Picnic at Deepor Beel.

Talk. Labour trouble
in tea gardens,
real estate, birds’ nests,
corruption: air quotes
billow through our hair.
I sneeze. You enquire.

Someone chokes on laughter,
another on vagina fear.
I marry grass to ants,
itches and bee-buzz prayer.
My duties are over.
I am free.

Stories move,
light as feather.
They settle on her.
Nasal tales –
of deaths of births:
someone’s abortion,
a nation’s miscarriage.
I look for other gossip,
the afternoon on my skin,
the light’s vertigo
on our bodies in repose.

The sky is bipolar.
Winter leaves grope
for our menstrual shadows.
I wonder about comfort
food of migratory birds.
“Ice cream?” you say,
your smile the shape
of my bra hook.
Siberian cranes fly
over our nudities.
Beaks become spoons,
fingers in grease.

Food. We ignore sparrows
and finches. Homeliness
is not for picnics.
Our fingers are danseuse
in the air: they point
upwards, to the past
where a bird just was,
a temporary tomb,
or to where it will be,
a whistle-fair.

Colours are not
for us, the woman
in rani-pink sighs.
I wish I could fly,
says the nanny.
A child chews straw,
another bakes bird-shit
in the pneumonic winter sun.

Birds of a feather
flock together,
you suddenly say.
And the day’s footsteps
fly away.

Sumana Roy lives in Siliguri, West Bengal. Her poems, fiction and essays have been published in Guernica, Asian Cha, Pratilipi, Seminar, Biblio, Open Magazine and Himal Southasian, among others.

Rupam Sarma is Chief Graphics Designer with an IT Magazine Publication House in Guwahati. Photography is his hobby. He is also an active blogger.

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