The Kiss of Death


Image courtesy: Google images



A tender, heartbreaking night
etched on life’s uneven canvas.
An unblemished face, swept away
with the moon’s tide, her last whisper
Lighter than a feather’s breath, 
she surrenders herself to her last lullaby
An undying flame as the silent womb
Of the mother bleeds open, 
trying to pluck every single star 
they had counted together.

In between the crushing moans of the night
the caustic smell of the hospital room,
sadly stumbling on shattered dreams,
Her heart, for once, did resuscitate…
Fairy tale murmurs, myriad hues, 
Countless rainbows smoldering
In the embers, engulfing twirled childhood…

In the crematorium, the charred meat 
Of her body, chipped edges of bones
and brain, lingering, one last thin scream 
Looking wayward, hungry for kisses,
the habitual bliss of midday meals, and wildflowers.

All Rights Reserved. Lopa Banerjee. January 21, 2015


The Apparition


Death strolls along the rusty corridors of life.
Death appears like a bullet hole
Leaking bright, white light.
Death is the shadow, scattered, the games
Played long after dark, the boys grinning,
Fighting, shouting, shedding shirts.
Death is the boy with bleeding limbs,
The burning and dancing, frozen,
Shattered, turned into ice.

Death, the playmate that I see
Running, stumbling, falling over the bleached grass,
The blush of sunrise sinking.
Death sees the faces of siblings gathered
Over the holiday, raving over childhood photos
And Ferris wheel at the fairgrounds,
Looks over as they turn old, toothless, parched.
Death whispers in hidden places, rooms
His voice, a hushed shiver.

Death is the final suitor, lets you turn
And take it, without faltering.
The scented trail of bruises, as it leaves
A smoky grey, waves, stops and whispers.
The world is between them,
A mute and reciprocal understanding.
The body, the arteries and veins
Shrinking away, bowing, kneeling.

Death is the apparition, the secret scar,
The bare-boned child, small and burdened
By debris. The bridge crossed in the dark,
Floating away, reborn. Death lies buried
Behind my toes, jolts and flashes
Between time and eternity.
Death is that gorgeous, pitiless song
Permeating the vast room,
Counting companions, actors between scenes
How they suddenly cross over,
At the melting of time and eternity.

Copyright: Lopa Banerjee. February 6, 2015

‘Invoked’: An Elegy for Moni Mama

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My beloved Moni mama, Anupam Bhattacharya. Many moons back, a tall, lanky guy, in Digha, 1976

Time had sung its inevitable song, a body

That had once planted a tree of love,

Had burnt to its last finishing embers.

The face, hung in silence, floating around

Unspoken words, etched in the timeless annals of memory.


The face of life, a sudden, elemental burst

A gleam of hope along the rusty corridors of nothingness,

Hungered for the pitter patter raindrops of a moment in time,

In the plastic quiet of the hospital room, death waited,

A silent companion at the next station, while life

Chewed on his final wishes of a succulent meal.


The finishing touches of words, beneath the breathing tube,

The pinching ache of the intravenous, the seeking out

Of lovingly knit faces, the hands gripping unfulfilled promises

A flash of seconds, then hanging loose.

Life had been beckoned in an unknown itinerary.


Twenty-one years since the sun had last gone down,

Memories unfailingly water, nourish the roots, the leaves,

The fruits the tree had borne, while the face

Hangs in the wall, a dusty portrait, in a home full of the living.

Copyright: Lopa Banerjee. January 11, 2014

Footnotes: An elegy dedicated to the loving memory of my maternal uncle, Moni Mama (Anupam Bhattacharya) who left us on this fateful day twenty-one years back, only in his early forties, succumbing to cancer. A youthful and intelligent person full of life and a quirky sense of humor, his memories are invoked till today and he will always be the face of life for me, yearning for love and the closeness of family even in the excruciating pain of his last surviving days. This is for my cousin brother, Arijit Bhattacharya who never had the chance of knowing his father. Bhai, this is for reminding you of the treasured gift of love that your father had for all of us during his short life span. Hope you remember and cherish him, always!