For Neera, Suddenly: Sunil Gangopadhyay

Three minutes at the bus-stop, yet for hours in my dream last night
I saw you embedded like a knife across the ocean – compass-less –
One body like the fifty-two holy places, in the wind
I saw you last night in my dream, Neera, in the dire blue times
Of dreams that ripen once and die.

When did you visit the southern sea-door, with whom?
Have you only just returned?
How terrible, how silent the ocean was in the dream, without a wave,
As though it would kill itself three days later, your horizon in the distance
Like a lost ring, your knees immersed in the blue water
Suddenly you seemed to be a gambler’s moll
And yet you were alone, alone in the intense dream.

I shan’t sleep for a year, wiping the sweat off the brow
At dawn after a dream seems so very foolish
I prefer forgetfulness, as free of shame as
The naked body hidden in clothes, I
Shan’t sleep for a year, for a year I’ll be awake, dreamless
And roam your body, like the fifty-two holy places,
To earn my piety.

Your smiling face in the bus window, ‘I have to go,
Come home sometime.’
The shriek of the sunlight drowns all sounds.
‘Stay a little longer,’ or ‘Let’s go to the library garden.’ Someone
In my heart said these things, glancing at my watch with
Remembering eyes I jump up, leapfrogging over the road, buses, trams,
Carts and people
Loping on all four limbs like an orang-utan
I reach the door to the office lift.

Three minutes at the bus-stop, yet for hours in my dream last night.

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