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.