Dogs and Butterflies, Tin Box and Other Botanical Herbs by Sekhar Banerjee

Dogs and Butterflies

In the middle of an empty traffic, I find
an auctioneer
selling all Zebra crossings in autumn. This is a season
of half-closed windows
and doors. Maturity is now a contagious disease;
on my fingertips, there is sadness
for being grown and ripened and finally lost
like autumn’s red leaves
At night, a runaway flyover
jumps from the road near the observatory and descends
on its front legs
close to the government hospital
like a hungry jaguar. I watch long dark corridors,
rows of unoccupied colourful chairs
and abandoned cinema halls everywhere
Dogs and butterflies converse
in city parks
in secret languages this time of the year
Without knowing the nuances
of a flyover, a butterfly or a dog’s language, I carry
my own gracelessness of being silent
in autumn
and I sense an oxymoron’s feeling
of being catalogued in reverse
like a stolen renaissance painting of a lonely lexicographer,
just discovered

Tin Box

Windows – the eyes of the house, always know
when it is summer again
and an antique tin box in your head is unlocked
to store
more rain-bearing cloud
like a secretly folded seventeenth-century Hungarian quilt –
all blue and white
This happens every time when you find
all other windows have closed
their eyes
and everything feels like a perfect hotel room
in a wrong town
You crave for your old small-town house
which has squint eyes
and an open courtyard – like a happy tongue
of a healthy dog’s mouth
You wander to the promenade;
the lonely cafe at the beach road is preparing
for a gloomy day ; fresh croissant, cheese cake
and some filter coffee in elegiac white cups –
its restless foam resembling a untidy honeycomb
in autumn
The sea front blooms like petals of a rain-flower
with a deep blue centre
The rain moths in the cafe have already eaten up
the spare stool, tables, the long chairs
and the only menu card
You suddenly realize the adequacy
of giving up

Other Botanical Herbs
Waking up late with a knot in your head, you fish out
your mobile from the wardrobe
and your spectacles from the kitchen
Nowadays they change their places often
like an ancient Roman musical-chair event forgotten
by us
and they forever wait to be picked up,
as if, they are your old favourite books of Elizabeth Bishop
and the theses of young psychologists
who died in autumn
At midday, you dream yellow jackfruit leaves
falling on your hands, toes and head, as though,
you live in the wide open
and there is no roof overhead
You look at the plant pot on the table
and try to think of ways
to grow some more sleep like growing red chillies,
sprouts, coriander leaves
and some other botanical herbs
from your fingers, shoulders and feet
and lay still for months on your bed
proclaiming your house is something else –
it is a large plant tub
You are the seed of the walls,
books, the kitchen,
the washroom, the refrigerator,
your watch, trousers
and of the dressing table without a mirror

Sekhar Banerjee is an author.  He has four poetry collections and a monograph on an Indo-Nepal border tribe to his credit. His works have been published in Indian Literature, The Bitter Oleander, Ink Sweat and Tears, Kitaab, The Tiger Moth Review and elsewhere. He lives in Kolkata, India. 

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