Baumbach’s Witness

by Aswin Vijayan

George Baumbach, d. 10 June 1875

From where he lies, I see
the crumbling walls of the bungalow
where his mother kept wake
from his death to hers.

Buried (as young as I am),
he has gazed at the tea plants
where frost curled the feet of leaves
and of the bamboo basket-wearing mothers

for a hundred and forty-five years.
Last year he saw the only school being swept
downhill and three men, still at the club,
being buried in the avalanche

of mud and water and the remnants
of lives previously witnessed.
Even in that rain, the red and white bougainvillea
flowered over him — a canopy of death.

Aswin Vijayan is an Assistant Professor at the Zamorin’s Guruvayurappan College, Calicut and has an MA in Poetry from the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University Belfast. His poems have been published in The Bombay Literary Magazine, Verse of Silence, The Tangerine, and Coldnoon among others. He curates a “New in Poetry” section for Nether Quarterly and is the Managing Editor at The Quarantine Train.

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