Poetry at Sangam




(Translated from the Assamese by Nabina Das.)

The beautiful women get down from the city buses. They

walk down the pavement. When the beautiful women arrive

the town bells ring eleven times. Everyone in the city

open up all their windows to see the beautiful women

go by. The beautiful women shine with warmth while

shopping for yarn in a wool market.

The beautiful women do not write poetry.

It’s just once a week that the beautiful women do a shampoo

to sit in the sun and comb their hair. A poet named “Hemanta Shesh”

writes odes to the beautiful women.

All vegetables at the green grocers want to climb inside

the beautiful women’s bags. The beautiful women buy

undershirts for their beloved men. They eat phuchka

standing at the street corner. The beautiful women get keen

on returning home before the sun sets. They push through the city bus crowd.

Then and there the city falls deathlike silent.

The city cannot follow all the beautiful women to where they go

But if they wish, the beautiful women can easily make the city their prey.