Saturday, 1 August 2020

Debasish Mishra, Poetry 2020 Longlist

RELATIONSHIP

(for my father)

Forgetting is not a possibility
when you lose something
which is a part of you.

Rather, it helps
when you are inundated 
with remembrance,
with the presence:
here, there, everywhere,
like the memory of gleeful Gulmohurs 
that I last saw in Koraput.

My father, you must have loved me
even before I was born.
And now, I love you more madly
after your physical demise.
Mark the roots of our relationship
which stretch on both sides
of the duration called life.
This durable tree dourly resists 
the pangs of fate and time.

We shared a common birthday.
24th of September was our day.
Father and son together.
Is it a mere coincidence?
Or rather, a divine proof
of how close we were?

United by birthdays:
Father-son, friends, co-birthday-boys.

Now, I'll be celebrating a half of it,
every year.
The other half will be eaten away
by the pain of your absence,
the weight of memory.

When I was young, you gave me
your best shirts.
They fitted me well.
During my college, you always loved
to pick one that was dumped by me.

And towards the last phase,
you gained some weight
and expanded your waist,
much to our collective suprise.

It was your plan, I know,
to be able to wear my unused trousers.

Waist 32: both father and son.

When I travel back, I'll make sure
to pick a couple of your T-shirts
and wear them.

I know, I am not as handsome as you.
You were meant for the camera.
But I'll try to fit into your shoes.

We were much more than just a father and a son.
We were a lot more:

partners-in-rhyme,
friends, brothers, clowns.

And thus, this space that you have left
will always remain unoccupied,
Like a piece of memorial land,
where human habitation is prohibited.

But U will remain there.
Not exactly a status-quo!
I will replace You with U.
You is a formal construct,
Which has been renounced already.
U however is colloquial,
an incorporeal presence,
which defies formal norms
and stands as the stamp
of your Ubiquitous, Universal existence!

U is my answer to the LOSS:
Longings of Soul and Sorrow
as if it is an acrostic.

And this U, unlike You, also forms
The nucleus of what we call oUr.

I can never forget you.
I can only transform You to U
And forge a strong bond again. 

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