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Devdas Chhotray

The Long-Haired Girl

Once, a long-haired girl had come to my room,
her breasts like melting light, hands wreathed
in flowers and death, two cool eyes in the rust
of her tears.
An actress of unforgiving love
and impassive blood, the pores of her skin excited
with envy, the glory of her lies bedazzling her youth
over and over again, the lines of her body in gleaming gold,
and on her face sin and prayer.

One day a long-haired girl had come to my room.
All alone. For a brief moment, and then was gone,
for I was away in some distant land; and in my house
a slave, an eunuch, stood on guard.

Translated by Jayanta Mahapatra


Please don't send those tears of light
to the wrong address any more.

I'm no longer here.

I lie at the edge of some obscure lane,
in the mean duck's ugly toes.

What's the use of asserting the story of
the lambent shadows, of rivers, of the long afternoons ?

I'm no longer here.

I burn inside some dark, fire-prone forest
within the unclosing wounds
on the limb of one of its unknown trees.

Translated by Bibhu Padhi


Better if you don't come. Can't say why
I feel terribly alone when you are here
the whole day.

Can't even face you. Such intimacy
reveals everything. Each speck of sin
assembles into black moles on the face.

Hard to turn my back. Such disgrace,
and yet shadows fall. The sun
is able to burn anything, still
watermarks live on like moss on the back.

Can't even turn aside. Despite such ruin
pain lives on in the heart's heart.
Don't even know how to behave
like a stranger from birth.

Better if you don't come. Can't say why
I feel so uncomfortable when you're here.
Hard to know who is in fear of whom,
whose face is more safe
foe whom all year long.

Translated by Jayanta Mahapatra


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