MOUSHUMI CHAKRABARTY

Moushumi Chakrabarty

 

 

Illegal

 

Imagining a landscape is easy

What is not

Is grappling with its spirit and pull.

 

In the Piazza del Signoria

Shoals of tourists jostle, gaping at marble and stone:

And nearby, the Arno stretches casually.

 

I hawk my stash of children’s toys

I slip, a nameless shadow between thin spaces

Surely the Piazza dims like light at end of day?

 

Fireflies guide me through the paddy fields,

You know, the one which Munir’s uncles own.

Rich perfume of earth beats as blood in my veins

There, that’s my home – just at the end of the fields

Beyond which lies the mighty river

Mother, Giver of Life, we call her

Where come dawn, my brother nets sweet-fleshed Hilsa.

That is Abbu, dozing in the courtyard

My brother’s children pull his beard and run away.

His bare feet rub the earth in blessing

He lifts up his head to look at the stinging horizon

Soon the call to prayer will sound; he sighs,

Perhaps he thinks of me.

Moushumi Chakrabarty

Moushumi Chakrabarty is the author of two non-fiction books for young readers. She grew up in India and became a naturalized Canadian many years ago. She writes poetry as a way to explore ideas of nation, identity and connection. Currently she is working on a book about astronauts.

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