From Letters to Inamorato by Jagari Mukherjee


As You Read Shahid To Me

For Inam

One winter evening 
listening to you read
Shahid to me, I light a candle 
that smells of floral bouquets.
There is no snow in the city.
I, unwell in the absent frost,
dream of your body's blanket
as you feed me words
like trees whose leaves turn 
emerald and onyx.

(I have no strength in my limbs.)
I am yours to sketch in an old journal;
you blend me in watercolors while
the brushes mix gold and green
to stir up shimmer—
your Aphrodite, your concubine.
Your woman of emerald and onyx.
Your winter evening is where the sky 
is cold like Shahid's ice palace; 
you warm me like a fireplace 
of logs and ancient stone.
I, reassured, sleep in the soft bed
of your voice.

Note: Shahid - Agha Shahid Ali

(First published in Flora Fiction)


The Letters

1

The moon is a glass.

I place, at its bottom,
a turquoise bound in 
latticed silver…

You tell me, Inamorato,
that promises don't 
wax and wane.

2

The sun offers a pitcher of wine.

Let us drink then, Inamorato,
the new gold together.

3

My sister embroiders
blue flowers with satin leaves.
Chain stitch and lazy-daisy.

Teach me, I whisper to her--
in every chain
my fingers are bound in thread
where each tinted weave
on the light cotton spread
is a letter to Inamorato.

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