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Returning From Ithaca

In a dream of journeys, we sit huddled in a boat returning from Ithaca
I cannot see my face
The distinct freckle on my right palm is the only sign of reckoning
We enter the mouth of the river opening to a hungry ocean
Before us sky grows thick, lighting up swirls of fierce orange
Elsewhere it is cobalt
A row boat on fire
Ash trail of smoke suffuses the air
I want you to know
I am a survivor

On a road winding uphill, I bicycle alone,
Alone in the eternal journey
Cedars grow on either side
Green holds out the solace of Earth
At the clearing
Whom do I ask about the way to my street?
I know it is close by, but where?
You wait before a dispensary, frail, old, flowers on your hair
In that tender voice of yours, you ask why hadn’t I let you know I am coming
I know I am home

In fragments of time, I realize it is Mahalaya*
Goddess has commenced her descent to Earth
Ten minutes past seven, the sky grows cloudy
Leaves are green, washed by undulating rain over the last three days
Sun goes into hiding
I hear your voice through a crackling line
When we speak it is as though your voice is drenched in rain, shivering
We drift into mundane days of skinning fresh fish
Of a Sufi living in a blue house of poetry
I have too many deconstructed memories
In a strange dream, poetry becomes mathematics

*day marking the beginning of the Durga Puja festival when Goddess comes to her parental home

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