Selections from “Patina”, poetry by Kavita Jindal

Patina, Kavita A Jindal (the wind in the trees, April 2019) Patina, Kavita A Jindal (the wind in the trees, April 2019)

Three poems from the recent collection by Kavita Jindal (the wind in the trees, 2019). Reprinted with permission.

 

Patina

 

I have wrapped up the hurt

 

like a betel nut in a betel leaf

sugared it

tucked it under a stone

 

There’s no weeping to show for it

 

Under the stone

the sugar melts

runs red with betel juice

 

Stripping and polishing the core

 

Giving it patina

to be coveted

by a collector of antiques.

***

 

It was in May. The sky poured.

 

The day the gutters overflowed

I left Kotapuram Port.

 

Abandoned on the platform were black trunks

      and tan suitcases

forsaken to their drenching while the porters huddled

under the whipped red awning.

The long brown train awaited the flutter

      of the guard’s green flag

as with slick-wet hair, from the window I stared

at a shadow I thought was there.

 

Friends wrote after long silences to say they’d told you

I’d shed tears on a platform awash with water

Scraped on to the train and cried again.

It was too good not to repeat.

You were puzzled when you heard this

or that’s the version I received.

 

It wouldn’t have changed anything, you said

if you’d been there, if you’d spoken

It wouldn’t have erased the train timetable

or the date of leaving Kotapuram

If you’d said ‘best of luck in life, my friend’

or another farewell equally inane

I’d have lived exactly the life I have

it would all have panned out the same.

I would’ve left on the day the sky poured

the day the gutters overflowed

Even if you’d stood there

to say ‘Hello. Goodbye. I care.’

 

‘Tears?’ you’d asked, with perplexed brow

when the story was repeated

of rampant lightning and umbrellas twisted by the storm.

Of the face squelched to the streaky window.

‘Tears, for what purpose?’

 

There were pillars on the platform

Posters on the pillars, imploring us to

Stick No Bills

The yellow of the posters was shiny-succulent, water-lashed.

The pillars were white and round,

      the sodden green flag was down,

the train slipped out, pulled away my stare,

away from the shadow I thought was there.

 

It was in May. The sky poured. The gutters overflowed.

I left Kotapuram behind. The trains ran on time.

 

***

 

The Category

 

Just call me post-post.

 

Post-modern

post-colonial

post-feminist

post-youthful.

 

Post-desi

post-library

post-newspaper

post-yummy.

 

Post-vegan

post-bees

post-wine

post-seeds.

 

Just call me post-post.


Kavita A Jindal is the author of, most recently, Patina.