By Rajnish Mishra

Rajnish Mishra is a poet, writer, translator and blogger born and brought up in Varanasi, India and now in exile from his city. His work originates at the point of intersection between his psyche and his city. His work has now started appearing in journals and websites.

How can I ever return to my city now? I’ll need a time back,

and me back from that time. I’ll need them back too, men and women,

children and plants, and a cow, yes the cow that would come

to the door for me to rub its back, then leave, every day.

That time and place, this time and place, complete my city of the old.

Too many deaths in twenty three days have hit me hard,

kept me shaken for minutes at length. Death

is not to be trifled with, and flash: images

of a street, they sell fish and vegetables for some length

on it and then there’s a bend, the end of the street,

and then I return. Early this morning an aunt passed away,

yes, that’s what we called her. We’d been neighbors

my whole life and that of our families for as long

as we have lived in our houses. I am far removed in place,

in grief too. Or else, how do I explain my not rushing

back where I’m needed? I have changed. I have come a long way

from my home, from myself. I think I understand

Tithonus’wish a little. It becomes difficult to live

once all have gone, and those around are not your people,

the time and place also not yours. Then a shadow walks,

a ghost in a shell, and waits for

deliverance.

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