To July

A couple of poems by Aritra Mukherjee

To July


In late July,

The half-sketched city

Dissolves in smog

In dimming shades.


Some stoppered essences

Now drip on the damp

Foam seat by the window.


Its cheap black leather

Rich with your scent.


That flowerless wilderness

We had potted many monsoons ago,

Is heavy with arching, gnarled branches.


Its splayed fingers hold

The rain-beaded yarn

Of a tiny spider.


Our room still smells

Of dust,

Of sweat,

Of aging pages.


Of dust,

Of sweat,

Of aging pages.


As I read the lines,

The words crawl

Onto my fingers

Like black ants.


I wear them like kohl.


And when the grey sky rumbles,

I hear Sisyphus’s rock

All the way downhill roll.





When you roll the words

In your mouth today,

At last you taste

The petals wither,

The leaves turning brittle.


Bits and scraps

Are no longer metaphors.

They take up space.

They gather dust.

They turn old.


Some are good

For being torn and thrown.

Some good enough

Junk to be sold off.


You wait till the day dries

In the shining scar slashed

Across the broken pane.


Then you walk slowly.

As if with a child.

The weight of time

Lies thick on your shoulder.

Distance uncoils

Like a snake.


With feathers dipped

In toppled pot of eve,

A pigeon flock flaps

Twice between the homes

Of smudgy insomniac eyes.


They circle above

The tangle of cables.

Above clicking,

Grinding trams.


And then settle down

In coarse, simple nests.

Behind the lighted

Signs of shops.


You buy the late night flowers,

About to be thrown away.

You return to a home where

The reek of rot has spread.

Like dirty water from

An overflowing sink.


You need to change the flowers.

And to scrap off the maggots

From a half-eaten story.

Aritra Mukherjee lives in a cosmopolitan neighborhood of Liluah, a small and bustling town in the district of Howrah. After graduating in English Literature from Scottish Church College, Mukherjee completed his post-graduation from Presidency University. Addicted to books, tea and adda, Mukherjee loves to take long walks and observe the protean lives of the myriad streets. Besides reading, teaching and indulging in craftwork, he also composes short late-night poems.

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