Poems by Rita Bhattacharjee 2017

Rita Bhattacharjee poetRITA BHATTACHARJEE is a communications consultant with extensive experience in managing corporate and internal communications for multi million-dollar companies across diverse industries, as well as for several non-profit organizations. She has recently relocated from the US to India to channel her skills towards social entrepreneurship to increase awareness and reduce disparity in public health through development of information technology platform and deployment of mobile healthcare. In the midst of it all, she remains a poet at heart. Her poetry has been published in reputed international journals including The Copperfield Review, Contemporary Literary Review, Camel Saloon, Café Dissensus, About Place Journal, and Kitaab.


your skin, shining orange
I peeled, drank
chilled with a dash of honey
for breakfast.

your eyes, black olives
I nibbled, crunchy
with a mix of sweetness and salt
at lunch.

your heart, blood red
I carved, painstakingly
with my sharpest silver
for dinner.

I consumed
the last morsel of you–
not even aftertaste

yet you appear every day
in the mirror
in the crowd
on the bed
your black locks, serpentine
my shackles.
your green gaze, venomous
my prison.

Ballad of the Caged Bird

The house next to ours had a cage hanging in the veranda–
it housed a mynah that talked–she was famous in the locality for
her clear enunciation and considerable vocabulary–
people often gathered beneath the house on summer evenings to hear the mynah talk,
the bird had won many competitions, it was said–
the householders had bought it for a large sum because the lady of the house
had always wanted a bird who talked–
lovingly, she had taught the bird to say “Ami bari jabo”*–
when cajoled or tempted with a treat, the bird would parrot the words
taught to her by the lady of the house to much applause and laughter­–
one day some people in the locality took a decision that
only those who were similar to them would be allowed to stay in the locality–
the house with the mynah did not match up to the locality’s diktats but
they stayed on nonetheless–the house still resonated with the mynahs musings,
but no longer did people gather to hear her in the evenings–
one day people who were once friends tried to burn down the house–
the householders managed to flee seconds before the fire consumed the house
they did not have time to take the mynah with them–
on dark still nights one can still hear “Ami bari jabo”
trapped in the blacked bricks–
the mynah still yearns for freedon
the mynah still longs for home.

*Bengali: I want to go home

Nirvana Sutra

flutter in the breeze
master of all elements
they survey
from their lofty abode
in the mountains–
ancient mantras
they proudly display
kindle godly energies
to awaken
the divine within
or summon
mystical forces
to bless
the penitent
who pray for
or health
or wealth
or what their heart desires–
humble flags
with prayers in their hearts
flutter to the hum of
prayers wheels
that go round and round
to the chant of
om mani padme hum–
yearning to be free–
free of their earthly bond–
free to ride the next gust of wind
to nirvana.

Eden Denied

between sleep and wakefulness
I float in a tranquil sea, instinctively
knowing I am
I have no
I am lulled by
half-forgotten dreams
faintly-remembered faces
barely-audible voices
that croon to me
from afar
for generations
over centuries–
my time is infinite
free of the weight of
at last I am one with the universe
cocooned in
till a mortal gateway
sucks me into a world of
my sharp wail the only protest
at being played as a pawn
yet again–
will have to wait.


Your fiery breath is a
that waltzes like the dervish. Wafer

skin smoulders into
memories of youth. Bodies

become their own
seeking absolution from sin. Earth

waits to be purged of
to be baptized anew. Prayers

strung on your molten rays
maybe, reaching the heavens.
Maybe, second coming is near.