Issue 14, Poetry: Bombay, Kolkata

by Abishake Koul



The skyline of the city had always posed a conundrum,
As did the rains liberating as they stepped out,
A test of the soul, the la passion and the wait,
The time being bid goodbye as they kept falling in love.

Maybe the proximity to ocean and the emotions it held,
Every toddler trying to catch the waves at dusk,
The rhythmic metallic lullaby of the local trains,
A lonely melancholia even amongst a sea of humans.

A place for them to talk about their dreams, or not,
Or maybe the search for an escape was never on,
No plans of exploring labyrinths and step wells,
The fireplace never needed in a house already warm.

The city was a relief when they needed it to be,
The rain, the sea, the love and the sheer beauty,
The faces becoming escapes, too many of them,
And shadows telling stories, secretly in whispers.

So I come to the city of Joy,
A guy named Arnub is driving the cab,
The city has been washed up,
Or rather the roads, some stains and soot remain,
The ghosts in my memories wreck the time.

Arnub stops near a post office,
I enter inside to find time has frozen still,
And I can’t keep my umbrella down,
The setting questions my existence,
As it does of the letters never written.

Anindo Da never shares his lunch,
He brings a strict diet for one,
But he yearns for a sweet too sweet,
Or the life outside of the office,
The panwala mocks him as he looks outside.

The meetings are a facade,
As is the photo of a happy little girl,
It screams at me from the wall,
And I remember all those times,
When I wanted to, but couldn’t scream.



Abishake Koul is a poet from the mountains. He started writing poems in school, scribbling verses at the back of his notebooks. He has been published in the journal CLRI, Snapdragon, Taj Mahal Review, the anthology Chants of Peace, The Punch Magazine, Kashmir Lit, Cafe Dissensus, The Write Launch, and The Unknown Pen.

Illustration by Sawani Chaudhary

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