We had to tell him a story about snow
In Japan, how the flowers spread
Their wings so white and how
If he missed a single step,
The stars might come down
To take him.
They poured oxygen down
His lungs a Himalayan river in torrent
Two tattered bags, his sieves,
Bearing mud flower saplings
Where it snowed
White summer cotton that year.
The next morning he was up with the birds.
Chiseling his ride
Back to life, almost like a surgeon
Returning to his garden
Of mud and wildflower.
While sons squabbled over money
His flowers didn’t ask for anything
When he left, in the winter,
The garden also went with him.
Missing the Train
I kept my bags on the empty blue seat
And stepped out to take the great
Warm breath of
The great Indian railway station
I walked along, casually, and reached
The other end.
When I heard, astonished:
The name of my flight.
My train was the other one, still standing.
Though it had an airline name now.
It was the wrong train that moved.
I ran back, frantic, to retrieve my bags,
Catch the galloping train, find myself seated,
But the train flew away
Leaving my feet moving behind me, stranded.
I was too late, I knew.
You crossed over,
To the train you knew you always had to board.
I did not know if you changed your stripes too
Along the way.
Amlanjyoti Goswami's recent collection of poems 'River Wedding' (Poetrywala) has been widely reviewed. His poetry has been published in journals and anthologies around the world. His poems have also appeared on street walls in Christchurch, exhibitions in Johannesburg, an e-gallery in Brighton and buses in Philadelphia. He has read in various places, including New York, Delhi and Boston. He grew up in Guwahati, Assam and lives in Delhi.