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  • Summertime love
     

    Ahead of you, her words sway
    to the sound of the wind.
    Murmurs and whispers,
    they carry the smell of wet
    grass by the pavement.
     

    Her laughter dances around
    and fills the limpid air
    where lovers once blew
    their first playful kisses.
     

    Smoke from her cigarette
    makes hooplas round and bold.
    They float across the midday sky
    before the summer air
    swallows them whole.
     

    You watch her from afar
    with her wavy, auburn hair
    while she blows into her coffee,
    staring at the distant pier.
     

    You wonder if you should
    walk up to her, talk about
    books and the weather,
    but instead, you sit by
    and sip on your chamomile.
     

    Rain patters on the café roof
    and fogs your glass window.
    You read a wistful ballad
    while a man walks in through
    the wooden café door.

     

    You pretend not to see

    as she melts into the arms

    of her lover, the rain from his hair,

    coloring her cheeks crimson,

    a shade from a midsummer sunset.

     

     

    ***

    Night skies
     
    Like a yellow eyed snake
    East Express slithers through
    the burnt grass of Jonai.
    It flashes through sleepy towns
    that wait for clouds of grey
    to sprinkle fields with rain.
     
    At deserted check points, it wakes
    hushed nights to the sound
    of passengers’ banter while
    I drown myself in my novel’s
    next chapter.
     
    The lines in my book dance
    to the music of the dark.
    I think of the summer nights
    we spent beyond the wild grass
    reading Keats and Neruda
    under orchard trees we called home.
     
    I know it is a long night
    ahead until I see you
    but the stars will
    keep me company
    till black skies turn blue.
     
    The stretches of forests
    that border the railway line
    lie awake with the constant
    chirping of crickets.
     
    Sleep wanders away from me-
    I watch shadows of trees
    resemble faces, objects
    and sometimes of witches
    that mask well against
    the black of the night.
     
    I know it is a long night
    ahead until I see you
    but the stars will
    keep me company
    till black skies turn blue.

     
     
    ***

    Lila Ronghang
     
    The old fishermen’s colony
    was where Lila listened to waves
    roll into her dreams and wake
    her up to bright morning skies.
     
    It was from mist covered windows
    that she watched men walk
    into the mouth of the sea,
    throwing in their nets
    just as the sun came up.
     
    Salty winds murmured to her
    of places she’d never seen.
    Glimpses of towns she captured
    typing on her Olivetti machine,
    the clickety-click sound of it
    startling the smoke-filled room.
     
    The backyard of her house was a hideout.
    Against moss covered tree trunks,
    Shelley and Byron she read
    and when her eyes tired out,
    ladybugs and tiger lilies she’d pick,
    placing them in neatly
    folded handkerchiefs.
     
    It seems just like yesterday
    when Lila walked through bazaars
    just as dusk peeked in.
    Markets where beach shacks
    glittered against the dark, and candle flames
    swayed to the song of the waves.
     
    No one has seen Lila in the past ten years.
    Mitali says she now lives in a place
    where the soil of the earth
    fills her breath, and earthworms
    crawl beside her as the night sets in.
     
     

    About The Author

    Prarthana

    Prarthana Banikya

    Prarthana Banikya is an academic author based in Bangalore. A graduate in Sociology from Miranda House, Prarthana spent her formative years in Northeastern India, from where she draws inspiration for most of her poems. Her writings have been featured in several anthologies and journals including Asia Writes, Danse Macabre, Namnai, Pratilipi, and Poets Printery.  She blogs at prarthanabanikya.blogspot.com