At night, after you close the day like a book,
you grope for a bookmark.
That is peace, the house’s morphine,
for which you pay the bank interest.
The neighbour switches off the lights –
darkness becomes a sound.
The moonlight rests somewhere on the terrace,
making of your house its inn.
On a day like today,
you want to send your house on a holiday,
knowing that it will return to you
like a little child does, when thrown up into the sky.
Once the house was your child.
Now you are its slave.
It behaves like a pensioner.
(There are the cobwebs, the house’s cuticles,
always in need of paring.
Dreams make the skull of a house, you know.
You spend your life looking for the house’s tail.)
Once camels could pass through eyes of needles.
I laughed at the folly of my ancestors.
Now, as if in revenge, the three storeyed house passes through my eyes.
I see other things – impossibilities:
It is possible to hate humans, even those we love,
but your house?
Love returns after every bout of housekeeping,
like saliva in your mouth.
So every night you lock the gate.
And the boundary wall becomes an engagement ring.
(Illustration by Avirup Ghosh)
Sumana Roy writes from Siliguri, a small town in sub-Himalayan Bengal. Find her at www.sumanaroy.com