Ila Pal Choudhury Memorial Tribal (Hindi) High School, Sukna Pratham Khanda – By Sumana Roy

Photo credit: Tanita Abraham


Everything seems like an invitation,
even this fever.
This dryness, which mocks reflection,
this torn skin, through which light won’t pass.
But here it is always childhood,
where shadows are shy and the wind sleepy.
I’ve always wanted to stop here,
to stop and never leave,
like the blood inside us,
moving in the same space all life.
Why should holidays only need new places?

There is oil in this view –
it lubricates everything, even knowledge.
Fatigue sews me to my bed.
My mind can’t walk any further.
It stops near the school,
as if the innocent building were a pillow.
White, no whitish, like old teeth,
its balconies look foreign –
they’re not buttons that stitch
outside to inside, meadow to body.
Children spill out of it like idle ants –
so tiny they might evaporate from sight.
Their toys are their bodies –
their legs, where all festivity is.
Behind them are the hills,
like lanterns, waiting to catch fire.
The phlegm in my chest looks for an exit,
my lips are burning like a blind torch.
My eyes close, caged by fever.
My eyelashes are like brooms
sweeping away the body’s heat.
The blue veins of the sky attach to my wrist.
I can’t remember the rest.
Rest breaks like glass inside me.

Note: Sukna Pratham Khanda is the name of a village/town in West Bengal, India.

About the Author

Sumana Roy is the author of How I Became a Tree (Aleph), a work of nonfiction, Missing: A Novel (Aleph), Out of Syllabus: Poems (Speaking Tiger)and My Mother’s Lover and Other Stories (Bloomsbury)