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Monsoon in Kolkata​

Anitha Devi Pillai

It was during a monsoon rain

that I had first met her –

the Indian Queen of a colonial past.


She lay bare, soaked.

Holding my image of her

in her four arms.


In one arm, she cradled poets and writers who

lay at her feet at College Street,

basking in her warmth,

as she did in theirs.

She cloistered her colonial past

in buildings and trams,

railways and colleges

and held them loosely

in her second arm.

The third was full of vigor.

Flowing Ganges and Kalighat

who were filled to the brim and spilling over

with a million scents for the nose.

But they always made her smile.

Her fourth was her favorite.

Her pride and joy

her children of science and arts

whose fame was scattered across the oceans.

She held them close to her Bengali heart.

Time had stood still for her

as she washed away

the daily grind of the busy city

from her glistening midnight skin.


First published in Leamy, S. & Stallings, M. B. (Eds). 2019. Wanderlust: The Best of 2019 Anthology. USA: Wild Dog Press.

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