left unsaid

i have lost the words before

i have even begun.

they stick in my throat,

choking me

before i can speak them

before i can even think to speak them

they say that the hurt recedes,

but, what of this insidious feeling—

the tissues holding my bones seem to twist unendingly and i split in places without ever breaking?

and if you cut me open, my lungs will bleed ink they are

remnants of everything left unsaid

A Poem by Sumana Roy with illustration from Subarnarekha Pal

Looking at Hill Cart Road from Google Earth This is the truth we avoid until our death – that love causes anxiety, sunburns and squints, even as we feel rustled by its antique energy. I do not know why I want to see Hill Cart Road from the sky – as if air gives things […]

A Poem by Sumana Roy with illustration from Subarnarekha Pal


i whispered to the cool night air,
a dream of golden beaches,
the sand collecting in the corners of my eyes—

i whispered that i loved you

and i hoped the wind would carry
my words to you—

across thousands of miles,
across the time,
across the waters,
from which you climb
out to dry
in the golden dust,

the swells of your body heaves
rising and falling, like the waves
like my beating heart

to the cool night air,
from another continent
i whispered

i love you

because i’m a fool.
for you.

about nothing

in between
the stray sounds from the day,
the clatter of pens
the rustle of pages
there Is a stillness that dulls

the cacophony of voices
that pass through me,
i become invisible, transparent—
my solidity is a spot of unruly paint on the window glass

windows yawning on
two hundred year old hinges,

the whisper of the wind
that moves the leaves

diffusing the stillness of sunlight
filtering through
to the unruled pages in front of me

to my hesitant pen that has now
marked it

a prayer

i hope there’s time enough for you and for me
i hope we learn to love and to live with loss
i hope we find the strength and courage,
in ourselves and in each other

to pull through
to a time and a world that is gentler,
where we are kinder to our skins and to one another
all of us, for all the years of unimaginable hurt,
and pain
and madness and hate
and let that be the prayer on our lips
even if it may be foolish
and hope

even if for a brief time of clarity and softness
when we will keep our promises
and delight in sunlight and moonlight and starlight

before everything inevitably ends.

midnight tonight

Shakherbazar, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

(after midnight tonight)
there’s a little life caught in this wind
that carries the clouds you could pick off like cotton
floating in deep blue ink,
ink that refuses to take shape on paper

but if you hang your dreams to dry in this skyline,
you could reach for anything tonight.

come close

i miss you by moments
in the turns
of our winding corridors that are going on
i lose you by a few metres,
by one year,
across the field
on whose opposite ends
the classrooms we occupy
this field whose grass is sometimes
golden with sunlight,
this field that turns into
eight hundred kilometres
or a heartbeat,
i lose you,
sometimes only inches
from your lips.

now the rain is falling fast.
and do i dare seek a reflection
on this wet marble,
among thousands other,
of my quiet, flickering dreams?

here i have found everything
that was closest
as well as
like the time collecting,
streaming in through the windows,
weaving through the broadleaves
in a narrow muddy stream,
sometimes like the air
swirling around
the tips of the grass
of the same field
where our collective breath settles
and rises again when the sun is hot

across this field
you and i on two ends,

won’t you come close?



the first rain
doesn’t come quietly,
it is
two hundred million thundering
hearts and lungs gasping
winding into a coil
outside my window
breaking in
onto my bed
and unraveling in between trees
and concrete buildings.

much like the way
you come apart
in my hands
with this storm
raging in your eyes,
a tempest,
that will put
even earth to shame.