Do You See?
Luit On Our Tongues
We were five or six, men and children
in a tempo, that rackety raucous vehicle
With three capricious wheels heading
towards Sonitpur, our vacation, where
Mangoes had ripened summer’s belly with
the monsoon’s heavy showering grace
The usual route was flooded, abandoned
Luit had licked it wet, fungal, even after
The water receded; this was our Old Luit
father kept telling me how the Red River
Has its liquid name from the colour red
after a battleaxe washed itself, lots of blood
Now there are bridges that drown currents
hurrying us in buses and cars in a riverine flow
The Bodo teacher sitting just next to us said
the river does actually speak the curious hue
In gurgles by his village sweeping in a chant:
Bhullum-buthur. He smiled. Bhullum-buthur
Bubbles in the head, the mad water’s dance
the Brahmaputra in news and TV he knew
It still gurgles day and night, another man said
like human voices when slashed, when spent
Gasps bhullum-buthur in river tongue, the dead
so did our Luit, took stories along and lives
Between conversations from the diverted route
we saw the faraway river gone red-eyed with mud
The blood all faded, perhaps the colour of the red-
ness entrenched like the leftover evening sun.
The other titles published in IL are: “No Country, No Names“; “Gandhari’s Eyes“, and “A She-Ghost can only call Names“.
Image from my computer: Setting sun on the Luit (Brahmaputra), Assam.