When I Think of Father – Don Kitbor Koshy Mihsill

 

 

I think of world-map cows,
honey-dew jackfruit,
cut-grass and fresh milk;
I can hear the echoes of
jokhan ami aghor ghume,
jokhon moddyo raat

with his fading
footsteps marking
the recession of darkness

and the dance in his voice

keeping me still.
I think of the famine of 73-74

when the world-map shrank and

the jackfruit tree didn’t bear fruits,

when the land was hungry for rains

and father’s tears couldn’t parch

the thirst of saplings or the zamindar,

when the Nehru-suit men offered a salary

in exchange for dreams of husk and

land to build an anonymous t-shirt

manufacturing unit.

 

I think of neatly laid pen
stacks, crisp cotton shirts,
blocks of times and a weather-forecast
outcome proof activity for each block.
I think of fifty years, 18260
days; crow-feet at the periphery,
scratched on the skin wound
tight over his occipitals and
lines like gullies,
eroded by daily rigours
of worship at the local

industrial temple.

And like the machines
wear with the sunsets,
what’s human depreciates
through sewn lips and resignation.

 

Don Kitbor Koshy Mihsill is from where the clouds live. He whiled away his early childhood sleeping on the grassy fields of Patkai, Nagaland. His English teacher ignited a love for ‘poetry with a purpose’. He lost that purpose somewhere enroute to becoming a lawyer, and then the purpose found him. Or he found it. Or something along those lines. But they’re together now – the purpose and the craft.