Ashwani Kumar

About the poet:

Ashwani Kumar is a noted Indian poet writing in English and a professor of political science at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai). His latest poetry volume ‘Banaras and the Other’ has been long listed for Jayadev National Poetry Award. Recently ‘Architecture of Alphabets’ a volume of his select poems has been translated in Hungarian. He is also co-founder of Indian Novels Collective for translation of classic Indian language novels and writes a regular book column in the Financial Express.

Cyclone Son -in -Law

The sky was filled with cinnamon clouds
Earth shattered by ferocious sesame winds.
He came without any debris or disaster
Rushing through cataract corn fields.
Waiting in her favourite georgette saree
My mother opened the door
Peppered him with flavoured rice and marigold seeds.

Giggling at his weather- greyed curly hair locks
My eleven sisters burst into gales of prairie songs .
He gave everyone a salty perfume, and  giant prawns
He had brought from the ghost islands of Pacific sea.
After eating home-made snacks with tamarind chutney
He sanitized his hands with green algae wax.

Gossiping about frog babies in rain forests,
He suddenly grew nostalgic
Repented flattening tree after tree in anger.
He was tired- his concave eyes were swollen.
He sunk deep in the reclining sofa
Unburdening himself in an untimely nap.

Our losses were many, some irreplaceable, still  
My sisters and I wished he could stay  longer.
But he was weakened by guilt in his heart
Leaving his old horoscope in my hands, he
Slowly whirled off the window
Promising he won’t harm anyone in future…

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