The Inseparable Union

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Promita Bhowmik

Photograph: Shubhrajyoti Bhowmik

“I won’t stop writing under any circumstances,” says Promita.

A die hard follower of Shakti Chattopadhyay, Promita Bhowmik is essentially a private person. She has been widely anthologized both in commercial and non-commercial Bengali magazines; an award-winning poet, and author of three full-length poetry collections. A woman of few words, Promita, was a bit reluctant to say on her future projects as she met me in my office about two weeks back — a meeting she was planning on for quite some time.

Promita offered me a few of her published poems; she was genuinely eager to get them translated into English. I read all the twelve poems she gave and I picked five for my desk. I found her poems extremely intriguing, rich in imageries and moderately feministic. I’m sure the translated poems will appeal to many readers and critics across the globe. Let’s take a look:

1

The Secret Malady

We, finally, met at the crossroad.

The laid-back winter heightened as we talked

under the frozen light of the coffee shop,

and as we kept silent.

The evening stood firmly keeping its arm

on my shoulder; you too kept your hands in mine

ignoring the vigil—

You looked like my ex-lover from one side,

while the other remained unseen even now.

I wanted to say something but I fail to remember;

my eyes lack vision and my hands...

The navel and the breasts have become numb.

Make sure you leave the secret malady with me

the next time we meet.

2

Correspondence

Ignoring much of my preferences

I've arrived to the understanding that

we do not doubt one another anymore.

Well, we might fail to recognize each other

from behind the door;

no one would try to find us out...

Nobody would want to call us either!

You might move ahead leaving behind

the used towel in the bathroom; you might also

become a bit innocent considering my

absence inevitable.

But then, I might fall asleep.

The body-fluid might bathe me

unconditionally; and without further query,

expression, or protest I might start believing

that we don't have much to do except for

suspecting the other.

3

Not-So-Often

I wish a few gusty nights could emerge

from the shattered gloom. I wish the vast sky

could unroll across the runway. And I wish

an acute illness could adhere to the triangular island.

For once at-least, let the want of food and love

speak together in the minds while thinking of

the probable death of our cherished dreams.

Let the door obliterate the known separation

as it opens wide. Let the days, months and the years

merge with the crowd prior to knowing

the right direction.

I wish a few turbulent days could alter

the meaning of the god.

4

Comeback

And then, if I return all of a sudden one afternoon,

the unkempt dust will move along the walk;

my wide smile vanishes, and so does the ambiguous time.

And then, if you touch the face,

my love-soaked chin, especially; the vigil would collapse

in my fist...

Leaving the twilight behind I'll ask for a

long-talk while extending my palms forward.

5

Nursing

The deep-seated malaise embraces you,

traveling across your stomach, liver, lungs,

veins and nerves.

You experience a black out as you are short of breath.

The flesh is now loosely-attached to your bones, and a few

men approach to savor the woman-meat. They will now

scratch and tear your waist, breasts, back, and lips.

Watery are their mouths, and your blood continues to pale.

Keeping aside your teeth, nails and the fire

you keep advising them the tenets of human care.

[Translated poems copyright 2017 © Kiriti Sengupta]