Reading Jibananada in Snowstorms
by Bakul Banerjee

The stillness of the snowstorm surrounds me.
Through that veil of my daydream, I notice you,
a reticent boy of fifteen, by a tropical pond.
You hesitate, move with stealth, taking in
changing colors on the kingfisher, soaring
toward the sunlit sky as it escapes shadows

of palm trees over the green water.
You painted your poems in a soft meter
to the glory of haunting, intimate deaths.
Through the snowstorm, I surmise
your hymns to dying and sometimes
resurrection across centuries.

To the slaughterhouses of Pnohm Penh
or to the royal burial chambers of Mycenae,
I walked with you and your meditations
on humanity across the earth’s geography.
Here, in this frozen land, not alien to me
anymore, I have time to notice wrinkles

in my face, remembering fair maidens
long-lost who navigated meandering
rivers through ages. You serenaded them.
I study ever-fading photomontages
of your thoughts in your deliberate poems.
Then, beyond this arctic winter, I dream

of discovering a shy May-apple flower hugging
snowy earth, not a Hill-Glory bloom of Bengal,
hidden under its umbrella of shiny leaves.

They resurrect every year on vernal equinox.

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