Merci and Other Poems

By Aditi Bhattacharjee

1 – Merci

I make us some blue tea/ ask you to sit with me/ we talk about morning glories/ and Nietzsche/ the sky reflects on the glass pitcher/ clouds creep in/ silence takes over/ I go for a walk/ forage for your favorite flowers/ forget-me-nots/ we put then in an empty bottle/ of Bombay Sapphire/ watch it wilt/ I paint you a little something/ underneath it/ I write you a love poem/ I hug you more often/ despite unending encumbrances/ we watch/ the full moon at our window/ night descends/ with its cloak of blue/ I get a little closer/ sleep takes over/ our toes/ they talk/ we talk/ about pigeons/ sometimes we watch/ the crows/outside our bedroom window/ silence takes over/ I write you a letter/ just because/ I felt like writing/ you pin it on your desk/ after/ you send me a text/ a photo of my letter pinned to your desk/ I make your favorite blue tea/ morning glory on the side/ and cream crackers/ we eat/ our toes/ under the table/ they talk/ we talk/ about Neptune/ an ice giant/ while again the night cloaks us/ in a Proustian dream/ next morning/ I make us some tea/ you sit with me/ silence takes over/ sip by sip/ and I watch you/ nod at me/ gently/ as if to say/ merci, merci

2 – What I mean when I say I am cooking a poem

is that I am grinding masala, changing bed sheets, fixing a lunch for two, folding laundry, beating dust out of carpets on the terrace under the unforgiving May sun, smelling summer in the heart of a ripe old jackfruit, painting sunflowers on slow afternoons, waiting, willing July to pour outside my window with the melody of an Odissi dancer’s ghungroo each time her feet fall on the floor like thunder tearing clouds apart.
I am always cooking a poem especially when I am watering the Rajnigandha plant, watching the neighbourhood boys hobbling around a football, their hoarse voices slowly disappearing as I get back to picking tulsi leaves for the evening chai and nursing a broken heart – mine, my friend’s, her mother’s, their housemaid’s. Us, women, with heartache and hurt, singing along Kishore Da’s songs emanating from the TV in between sips of adrak-wali chai. This grief-ridden house being purified of lies, loss of loved ones, infidels and alcoholics with rhythmic syllables and estrogen.

And I am left wondering the need for camphor or even dhunuchi when our sisterhood is enough.

3 – Villanelle on Kindness

We say thank you
To the lovers that came with exit plans
This cruelty is also a kindness

How sidewalks crave for pedestrians everyday
and so, the violence of walking feet follows
They say thank you

How the moth desires a light bulb
and flies towards its death
This crime is also a kindness

How we are held together by gravity
That leaves us with a little more time to fall apart
For this irony, we say thank you

How Fall takes away the leaves from trees
And we rejoice this nakedness
This robbery too, a kindness

It is in the nature of things to die, disappear, disintegrate
Is not life sweeter in the knowledge of its inevitability?
And so we remember to say thank you
Because ignorance is not always a kindness

Aditi Bhattacharjee Aditi Bhattacharjee is a writer from India, currently pursuing her MFA in Poetry from The New School, NY. Her work has appeared in Lunch Ticket, Evocations Review, The Alipore Post, The Remington Review, Vagabond City, Pile Press and elsewhere. When not humouring her brain chatter, she is found reading war histories

Subscribe to our newsletter To Recieve Updates

    The Latest
    • An interview with the Editors of Poetry at Sangam

      Taking down Poetry at Sangam must have generated a plethora of flashbacks of

    • The Usawa Newsletter February ‘24

      How JLF helped me with my undiagnosed dyslexia and ADHD In the bustling city of

    • Artists’ representation of the human body by Ruchika Juneja

      the years of growing up were spent in finding ways to belong and belonging in

    • Preface to Mumbai Traps by Anju Makhija

      the years of growing up were spent in finding ways to belong and belonging in

    You May Also Like
    • Untold lives by Vaikhari Aryat

      When my grandmother, Achamma, cried out for Kunjumon on her deathbed, I thought

    • The breakdown of a staph infection disguised as a poorly delivered lesson from the universe’ By Tanvi Kiran Kulkarni

      I At first, a tiny redness on my thigh taped and shut underneath a giant

    • A Mirror to Society in Savitha Pathak’s Hysteria: Review By Pratibha Bhagat

      Literature holds a mirror to society and pushes us to investigate our narrow