He loved a poet.
He kept her first
and only book
not on the shelf
with the others
but at his desk
where he could
see it. Sometimes
he carried it around
in his briefcase
and glanced at it
during interruptions
at official meetings.

If plants could rewrite history
And Meerabai turn into Krishna
during your Bru-coffee breaks,
then you could have been mine
in this lifetime.

But that was
Not meant to be.

In the dark of night, Saturn
languidly stuck out his wise old head
from my horoscope lying on the bedside-table
and told me so: ‘Some galaxies
are never meant to be discovered’
only beguile children in fairytales;
some lovers are never meant
to be had, only loved.’

I continue to hold onto you
and you onto my book.

For you each poem
is just a poem. You don’ t see
I’m trying to show you
that Meerabai is me,
That Emily and Heathcliff
Are me. That I am Durga
and her child. That I keep
turning into Christ.

Meditating over my words
you turn them into mantras.
You close your pores to them
they cannot fall into you.
That day I showed you a poem
Instead of talking to you,
you didn’t see the mourning
In the poem. Mourning
sprang out of the breaking
crucible of you and me.

No, I am not Christ
or plants rewriting history
or even Meerabai. I am only
Czeslaw Milosz who would
not have written a single line of poetry
if he could have had Freedom.

I could never have become a poet
if you could’ve been mine.
But in the occasional grip
of a clamouring Muse
and in the absence of Mephistopheles
I cannot help writing a poem.

My vocation was given to me
By you.

He loved a poet.
That could have also
loved the woman
who loved him enough to not
stop loving him and not
stop writing words even though
words to him remained
just words-this he did not know.

I will not write
a second book.

Make me bookless
Return my first and only book
which you carry in your briefcase,
to the fire.

Return the book
to the fire
because of the book
that you love so much
is in the way of the dreamer
who wrote the book.
Because the bark-turned-paper
You carry close
to your heart
is not my flesh,
throw the book
into the fire,
and set me free,
and let me see
in its light
extinguishing paradisos
one by one
into the black hole
of hope.

Published in ‘Indian Literature’, Sahitya Akademi’s bimonthly Journal, Volume. Li No.1/ No. 237. Jan-Feb 2007