Salt, Apple and the Cat plus Three More Poems

by Kousik Adhikari

Salt, Apple and the Cat


even in rain, when I step Mrs. Sen’s two bedroom flat

she offers an apple, after some easy snacks

or salted biscuits.

for snacks I don’t disagree

but salt is very another thing,

it’s a bond, binding, abiding and even mischievously proverbial

like throwing salt over one’s wound

that my grandmother used to say often

after our family partition, utensils hurled

on all sides of border, even to no man’s land

and my uncle’s looking nonsense at the neighbor’s daughter

whose old cow eats our saplings without interval,

it’s for the salt that we can even kill one,

so after appreciating her snacks

and also clean-shaved flat, bed and cushions

I would perhaps like to utter a ‘NO’

for the apple also,

sometimes her pet cat Monkey

jumps over the tray and catch the apple,

placing his paws over it, posing like Hercules

with globe!

and I sometimes feel scorn and like salted island,

how ruthlessly it can chew the apple

and devour it, as if it was not there-

and nothing was there!

I would like to whisper, “Dear cat, you know?

after the rain, I shall be a man again”.


Myths of Sand


Years have fallen in disuse after dark winds of October

Forget to chill,

My hands grew pale, adhering to the rules named season,

Who shall now believe the alphabets of moon?

Shining dumb in my ancient bed for so many years!

I pat them a little and touching their chins sing lullaby

And a little adoringly say,

“You lazy naughty beings

Why lead me to deserts through ocean, vast, dumb and shiny

And I cannot touch the camels!”

None answers as the midnight rushes to another little dawn

And their sleeping eyes still speechless, looking at me

I knew the girls with the pitchers on their hips

Walk miles through deserts for water,

I know the camels turn cold in the sugar-chilled desert nights!

Till from one tent the gypsies

Run wild with their guitars, shouting abuses at moon,

Break the myth of sands and sand turns to water!


Noah’s Fishes


On one fine Sunday morning

I let loose the fishes taste the splendor of dawn

Breaking the aquarium, colored water

Gushing quite fashionably through the floor,

Fishes made my drawing room another bible,

Titanic ocean ceased in front of my table,

Still, not to touch Noah’s ark,

My cat looking dejected, licking its paws

For another magic event of stuffing abdomen

Perhaps cursing Noah for breaking the glass

That set apart water and wind,

Water made little waves

Scudding across, fishes running

Smartly in their empire, newly found

As the October wind makes the room

Little chilly, stood friendly in front of the table,

Not to call the magic ocean

Not to call the water’s beings

Noah found them running upstream

Pair to pair, trying to hark at the call of wind

Ecstatic, vigorous,

On one fine October morning,

And the ark will be flowered soon

With new members, breaking gap between water and wind.


News of Rain

you told me the news of rain, dying at peace

on the attic of our roof. you told how to smell a flower

until, it lowers its head and is crushed, looking at the swelling clouds

Over the hilltops, I know your hands, truant, truant

like the rain soaked earth, hard to smell, easy to taste.


stone rolls down always from the cliff

I never know how I become Sisyphus

nor when I believe your news of rain.

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