Mall Road in Darjeeling
Photo : Wikimedia Commons
Mall Road in Darjeeling Photo : Wikimedia Commons

Death by Darjeeling and other poems

Nephew, Verbs, and Hiding

Death by Darjeeling

You are grateful that the wind doesn't cast shadows.
When you spot it testing the arrogance of flowers,
you reach out to protect their torn shadows.
You are already Darjeeling's prisoner:
you mistrust your watch –
how can its hands hold the death of daylight?

Because rain is always a trespasser, you carry the fear like a secret:
wetness is always a surprise, its body an earthworm.
There is Giri Niwas and Sharma Cottage and Lama Building,
but before all of these is Madhu-di's shop, her voice like a sleepy pigeon,
asking why you've stopped buying tomatoes.
You say something about the colour red.
''They killed Madan Tamang near the Planter's Club …''
Age has done her life great violence – now only her shop can hold her girth.
Her words move at the speed of hunger: ''Death digests everyone in Darjeeling''.

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Himal Southasian