Poetry at Sangam



BIRAHA by Sumana Roy

Love makes of everyone
a parent. All distances
seem too long, all moments
a first-aid kit on call.
Time becomes a zoo –
our past a caged animal.
Love is an accent
that needs practice.
Where are you?
This – this life’s grass,
the unread books,
secret tickets,
moon and brass –
needs a room
with shadows.
Come. Come home.

This distance isn’t safe anymore.

I feel bereft,
I watch my nails grow,
I become my own prison.
How do you sleep
without your pillow?
I see myself turn
into a weekend,
into ellipses,
into your likeness.
You are my paperweight,
holding me back from air.
Once you tampered
with my restraint,
put my goodbyes in orbit.
Now I’m at war with aloneness,
like the lost shoe of a pair.
Without you, I am nothing.
I’m a winter month,
hawking darkness at the fair.

These letters I write to you,
these dolls of trance,
turn you into new ghosts,
our love into a séance.
Why this absence,
these cruel vowels
that keep you away?
This love, this need for friction –
skin and bristles, teeth’s tentacles –
is superstition? This is death
if there is death at all.
These tears, these long solstices
are love’s pension.
And you’ll still say that biraha
is only the fourth dimension?