Trailing a Couple in Park Street

Crossing the street with my lover, some way off Flury’s,

I see a man and a woman emerge from Moulin Rouge.

The man wears a French cap and tweeds, and the woman,

Dressed in a trench and pale stockings,

Is walking in pumps clicking on the pavement like in the 60s.

That class of elite Bengalis that probashis hear about

Just touring a molding colonial city,

Are walking in twos, or smoking in threes, in the dark pubs along the street,

A lone woman across from us shouts, “taxi!”

Is it nearly three?

I watch our dilating shadows reach into every crevice on the aging walls of buildings,

And wonder if we shall ever reach inside old memories

To feel the gritty forgotten discrete between the folds of our consciousnesses.

So many years have gone by; so many years extend before me

Like a newly built flyover still awkward with the old geography.

And I wrapped in coiling duree, measure moments, counting them as though they were

Merely amphora balustrades from another time.

Walk a little slower; we don’t want to be seen

The little porticos of the young houses before us are familiar;

They might offer a secret about our previous meanderings, forgotten to be remembered,

If we followed the man and the woman through the city, as though

They are an apparition of some faded dreams we must catch –

And as though this whole night is a pantomime of those memories performed

To remind us of the time we have lost again.

Walk with me behind them.

The new year’s eve, the mellow drinking, and the dying music from a saxophone

Oozing from an open window somewhere, are filling my thoughts like an inebriating drink.

Will you come with me please, like you used to before?

The deepening touches of the waxing lovers around are flickering under the lamps.

Look on them one moment more lest you forget,

Or ask if we shall meet again, these specters so evanescent in the night

Salvaged from my nothingness one final time, for us alone to feel.

Ipshita is a Ph.D scholar at Jamia Millia Islamia

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