Fall Issue 2022
Bidyut Bhusan Jena
You stand amid the ruins and
breathe onto their ancient wounds
the ripples of skin.
By turning you into an artist,
Hampi offers the human a chance
to redeem the errors of time.
From across the ruins, Lord Virupaksha
stares at you with his face of eternity –
the seer and the seen melting into seeing.
Moving to a new street is leaving
a forever alive canvas behind –
the cobbler stitching the ends of the street,
the beggar exchanging worlds for coins,
the mother waiting across the street for
a pause in traffic to be with her puppy.
Moving to a new street is learning how
light turns into shadows when bent and
how the vendor weaves his dreams across
the clouds on successive windscreens.
To become strangers to
each other, we need to fill the
sockets of the trees with sand
and change the sky's template.
Twisting the curls of the rivers
and polishing the edges of the hills,
we need to reposition the moon
after soaking it overnight in the
semi-liquid darkness of the culvert.
After renewing all those
old heartbeats, we need
to cross paths all over again
where the road once bent.
A Prehistoric Tale
I walked away from the bonfire
to crush the stolen stars
between my palms and scatter
them along your ancient shores.
On that night in Nagercoil I had
caught snatches of an ancient
conversation blazing across the
horizon of my being.
And when your hand arrived from
across ages floating through the night,
at your fingertips I smelt what had
eluded the fringes of my sight.
Hukitola – I
Across the waters of waiting
It eludes arrivals and
accompanies you on the boat
after you forget it
behind the lighthouse.
Look back moments after
your boat is off the banks,
and you'll see the crabs outside
their holes to bid you farewell.
When you are midway through
the consecrated waters,
Hukitola regains its mystery and
offers you an inscrutable smile.
If you want to attain it,
ask him to ferry you across
the Hukitola of your being.
A Footnote to Waiting
Wait for the knock
on the door,
for it visits when
you are unprepared.
After a certain page
of night is turned and
streets like cigarette
some call it
death and others word.
Bidyut Bhusan Jena writes in English and Odia. Some of his poems and other pieces have appeared in various literary magazines, journals and newspapers like Muse India, Erothanatos, Rock Pebbles, The Hans India, The Eastern Times and The Sambad. His poetry collections – Pages (2019) and A Letterbox Across Time (2020) have been published by Writers Workshop and Hawakal Publishers respectively. He is from a village by the river Kharasrota (fondly Kharasua) in Odisha. Currently, he teaches literature and philosophy at Christ Deemed to be University, Bangalore Central Campus.