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Returning
by Srinjay Chakravarti
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  These, my days,
have stopped where I myself had stood
just a while ago.
Thus far and no further, they say –
we won't go any more on foot.
I see them sitting by the river's edge,
swishing vague feet
in the muddy silence of its water.

I sigh, and start once again.
My body trundles along wearily,
creaking and swaying
under its new, unfamiliar load.
My days, piled upon each other
as though on a bullock-cart, jostling for space on my back.
Only my feet seem to know
where this rutted track is taking us.
I watch them walk on and on,
till they blur into the spokes
of my uncaring wheels.

The trees and bushes by the road
are overhung with wild creepers
matted and ashen into an ascetic's unkempt hairs
by the murky light of this my evening.
Underfoot, the dried mud and slush
hardly conceal the stones and boulders
and make for a bumpy ride.

The black basalt shoulders of my road
have their skins stretched
across fleshless old bones.
From the leaves overhead,
clustered spaces of sky
count its ribs with the scraps of light
they sometimes let through.

Countless carts have returned this way,
stripping it of all its clods.
The knobbed tufts of grass
make up the only backbone
that has been spared by the ruts.
My axle wobbles on,
following the spoor of this green spine
into the beckoning darkness.

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March 03, 2003
More By: Srinjay Chakravarti
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