Autumn Koel

By Pratyusha

Autumn slips in between doors.

Time compressing into the wing of a yellow leaf.

 

From far away, a song is carried on 

the back of the koel’s trail,

lush and high-pitched 

its notes escaping through the seasons,

through their leaves.

 

The skin of a leaf, like touching 

the veined hand of water.

Like touching 

half-air, 

a kiss

caught midway.

 

You stood in the shadows of leaves for a long time,

 

deer-struck, antlers growing from your dreams.

When we awaken,

  night’s feathers hover over us. 

 

Autumn makes me think of Suchitra Sen in her

eternal garden, singing her spirit’s swan song,

     the fragrance of desire turning into 

flowerbud 

breeze

colour

 

She sings, insistently, 

koel-bodied,

 

of her continued existence, in autumn or spring.

Her sari is sometimes the brown leaf turning into

copper glasses

spoons

plates

 

sometimes the flash of rose pink turning into 

guldastan

gulab

gulshan.

© 2021 harana poetry

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