Thursday 15 August 2019

Kamalika Ray, Poetry 2019 Shortlist


Yesterday in the library
I saw a young girl.

She was sitting in ‘my’ favourite seat
by the largest window on the east
and showing no signs
of either remorse or guilt.

I stood there
in the middle of the large hall
holding onto my
little mountain of books
(and resent)
trying to ‘seek her’
by my unabashed meaningful stare.

But her nonchalance too,
was of a royal stature
and when she did look up
from the book she seemed to be reading,
her expression
was that of a blank and clean sheet
like the one kept on her table.

Defeated by shame and by civility
I turned back
and took my seat at a crowded table
towards the centre of the hall

From where I could keep a careful eye
on the thief of my coveted ‘throne’.

She was not pretty at all, I decided fast
with a pimpled mousy face and a limp brown pony tail.
She slouched into the chair while reading
and almost drowned into the sheet
when scribbling with an unusual vigour.
I cringed at her wrinkled black polyester blouse
pooh-poohed her fake denim skirt
and rolled my eyes with annoyance
when she started chewing the butt
of her cheap ballpoint pen.

Several minutes of an eternity later,
I saw her move.
I followed her instantly, with my quick piercing eyes.

Lo and behold,
with an amazingly determined gait,
she went right up to
‘My’ favourite poetry section
and picked out with care,
the book ‘I’ loved the most!!!

Slowly she leafed through
the worn out brown pages
(which were till now only mine)
sniffed in its fragrance
(which was till now only mine)
and suddenly,
out of nowhere,
a brilliant smile leaked out on that face.

Like a slender hidden sunray
it sneaked in through
an unknown crack
of a closed dark door.
Inside me.

For that was precise moment yesterday,
in that library
at that crowded table near the centre,
when I,

fell in love.