I have not seen light—red
or the flight of birds—ochre
this way before, inside your
dreams, when you let me in.
I have not tasted honey—orange
did not know what a rose—white
smells like, in your dreams
—only when you let me in.
In your dreams, I love—blue
your every tendon, tender—ivory
and count your electric cells
till they sparkle like embers.
It is in your dreams I swim—alabaster
all my unknown moves—golden
ask roses to bloom full
and lull my throbbing in you.
We’re talking of dreams—aqua
I hold the seams of the sky—molten
so it doesn’t fold up the night
so that in reverie I can still lie.
Your hand a leaping fish—sliver
mouth a dripping honey hive—ginger
your pulsation greens me down
to where we entwine—two trees.
A pale winter moon on my awning
tiptoeing on dewdrops
she tells me her story now.
She has smiled for a million faces
and broken a billion billowing hearts
in silent forests across cities, towers
mingled in dusk and fog from Gaza to Perth.
Where is that medallion
where is our shining fragile moon—
millions have cried, in agony, and
in ecstasy that slow-bled them into dust
She has come right now
and I know how her jaadu-tona
can make me numb in a jiffy
like millions others across this globe
wrapped in winter’s low glow and grace.
Don’t do this to me moon, I plead
beauty is passe, face is not read, ergo:
we will shun being called Chandramukhi
won’t weave you even in our fairy tales.
Pale winter, and your pale magic
mystery smile melting in our bones
hunger, wars, deception—all is you—
even the lies of men stepping on the moon!
But stay, stay on the awning tonight
why talk of heartbreaks when lives are lost—
we will eat you instead of roti bread
even if burnt, just as Sukanta said.
Nabina Das is from Guwahati and is currently based in Hyderabad. Her poetry collections are Anima and the Narrative Limits, Sanskarnama, Into the Migrant City, and Blue Vessel. Her first book of translations is titled Arise Iut of the Lock: 50 Bangladeshi Women Poets in English (Balestier Press, UK, 2022). Her debut book is a novel titled Footprints in the Bajra, and her short fiction volume is titled The House of Twining Roses: Stories of the Mapped and the Unmapped. A Rutgers-Camden MFA alumna, Nabina is the editor of Witness: Poetry of Dissent and co-editor of 40 under 40, an anthology of post-globalisation poetry. She is a 2017 Sahapedia-UNESCO and a 2012 Charles Wallace Creative Writing Fellow; a 2016 Commonwealth Writers features correspondent; and a 2012 Sangam House, 2011 NYS Summer Writers Institute, and 2007 Wesleyan Writers Conference creative writing alumna.