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Torsa Ghosal

Torsa Ghosal

Abstract design. Courtesy-

Stray Ghazal

cold countries have no gods; blizzards stir a maple or two ever
to lisp in prayer, cutting through their monotone. ash, cloves and ginger

keep us warm. how did we who swore by the sun reach here,
you ask, knee-deep in snow, scratched red by breeze. ash, cloves and ginger

diffuse in potions that smell of wooden houses. head down in fire
place, gods who did travel with us turned to ash. cloves and ginger

in every curry you ever cook skews my memory. black ice like pepper
tears my skin, blood oozes with saliva. handful of ash, cloves and ginger

crystallize in my tears. how will my corpse be cremated in this weather,
you consider-another excuse to not let go? you rub ash, cloves and ginger

on my feet and wonder what is acceptable to our gods. bay leaves you never
put in rice puddings you serve for my birthdays. ash, cloves, ginger

and our lives together resonate with our mispronounced names. return, dear,
with me another day to ashen mornings steeped in cloves and ginger. 

for devadasis who taught us how to dance

Afternoon, tropical and warm.
Hundred bells weigh
down her feet.
Decades knotted at once, quiet,
wait for the toes to leave
the ground, and speak.

Barren temple walls refuse to speak.
Well-fed holy fires warm
up. Red streams between thighs leave
memories. Gods weigh
in. Prayers rot in quiet.
She is stained, and thereby, declared fit.

Amber verses, their lines, their feet,
she soaks. They speak
to her, curled in a quiet
womb. Melting in a sun so warm,
the ancient drum stands.
What if she could now leave!--

this count of her feet,
leave this hour that weighs
the sky against a blessing. How to speak
a tongue of warm
devotion through a marriage, eternal and quiet?

Watches her consort, a cosmic quiet
deity. No interlude to her dance, no leave,
till she petrifies, kissed by a worm,
can no longer lift her feet.
Thickly engraved temple walls now speak
to onlookers on the way.


My non-child-bearing hips and non-lactating breasts will jut out
from your history, temple walls,
family. Tribhanga, my stance, bends one
my neck, two my waist,

three my knee. Don't waste
me a deity; I am no Lord Krishna's gopi, out
fordivine grace. Transfixed by temple wall,
& my finery, say you're one

traveler; you'restoned the one
among many lovers of my stone-studded waist.
You too miss that embossed wall's

call and response tricks that wall
my body unsolicited. I raise my one
foothigh. The other with its accent gnarls my waist.
Bells jingle I labor. Shout Out.



Charanjeet Kaur: Editorial

Daman Singh: In a talk with Charanjeet Kaur
Max Babi: In Conversation with Shernaz Wadia

Literary Articles
Bernd-Peter Lange: Tagore in the Diaspora
Kaustubh Ranjan and Deepti Bora: Datttani’s 'Dance Like a Man'
Santanu Niyogi: Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s Children’s Fiction
Tejwant Singh Gill: Tagore and Punjab

Book Reviews
Anju S George: ‘Homeward Bound’
Atreya Sarma U: ‘Night Sky Between The Stars’
Bidyut Bhusan Jena: ‘Devi: A Journey Through Photo-Poetry’
Bishnupada Ray: ‘Blue Horizon’
Chittaranjan Bhoi: ‘Dhoti and Other Poems’
Nida Arif: ‘Tears of Blood’
VVB Rama Rao: ‘The Dance of the Peacock’

Ambika Ananth: Editorial
Selections from Your Space

Poets Featured
Debashish Lahiri
Jharna Sanyal
Laksmisree Bannerjee
Mark Floyer
Pravin Nair
Rajeshwari Srinivasan
Sananta Tanty
Sowmya Mishra
Sujatha Warrier
Taseer Gujral
Torsa Ghosal
Yuan Changming

U Atreya Sarma: Editorial Musings
Ananya Sarkar: ‘To Ugliness’
Emon NC: ‘Curves Ahead’
Harini Krishna: ‘A Letter to Her Love’
Indasien S Warjri: ‘Bearer of Luck’
Subhash Chandra: ‘A Fresh Start?’

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