Poem-20 (7.1)


Teesta Review: A Journal of Poetry, Volume 7, Number 1. May 2024. ISSN: 2581-7094



--- Urna Bose


It’s that time of the evening when the

golden orb dissolves into naught and night

has not yet clenched its fist into descension.

When someone asks, why I never use the

word ‘dusk’, shame hangs, a rag soaked

in soot, on my eyelids. The stink of sulphur

circles rabid, a vulture lodged in my iris.


Dusk: the state or period of partial darkness

between day and night; the dark part of twilight.

Partial darkness; shade; gloom.

Dusky: a perfectly innocent, wholly legitimate,

etymologically sound derivative, till it’s casually

thrown at you. An able, say-it-all adjective

when they fumble to nail melanin to crucifixion.


“Chee babu, kaalo meye bolte nei” - every son

is taught by his well-heeled mother in my culture,

till the son turns a marriageable age, and photos

of girls from respectable ‘bonedi’ families

are scrutinized with care, followed by a small,

harmless afterthought. A mere condiment,

like the sprinkling of coriander leaves on dal.


At this point, the voice grows soft, a hallowed

whisper perched at the askance edge of political

correctness. Whispers, we are also taught in my

culture, soften the bite to a digestible mush.

A little clearing of the throat, and then, “Well…

we’d prefer the girl to be ‘phorsha’”. Tell me, did

Dante know ‘dusky’ is the colour of purgatory?


Masquerading as two insipid, innocuous words –

“kaalo meye” – a slow burn pit. Grafted into my

skin is a panoramic void - still, frozen, numb.

And a little crumpled origami bird notifies me

the golden orb had set long ago on an intangible

heap of dust motes, the very first time someone

was sensitive enough to use that progressive,

liberal, forgiving, kind adjective – Dusky.



*Chee babu, kaalo meye bolte nei – No son, you mustn’t call a girl dark

*Bonedi – High lineage, aristocratic, distinguished

*Phorsha – Fair-skinned

*Kaalo meye – Dark-skinned girl




--- Urna Bose



The testimonial acid rain of black.

Carved meticulously by the absent-minded

neurosis of an inky half-moon.


The inscrutable complexity upheld by grey.

A bastion of dependability, in a world of

friendly, chameleon half-promises.


The un-opposing un-appreciativeness of cyan.

The smudged residue when the sunflowers

script a nondescript demise.


The veil worn by the shifting grains of beige.

Careless words stick to the Carter Road gravel,

the wisdom of the wind, a lipless witness.


The hollowness of a sullen crater – a banshee

in a tenantless apartment, its yellow-plastered

haunting sewn to vacuous walls. And,

I aimlessly wonder if I’ve told you lately,

that the crouching, incognito colour of

the void I call me, is actually, you.





How to cope with Writer’s Block?

For Nissim Ezekiel

--- Urna Bose



Tonight, is a night of waiting.

The moon leans against my shoulder.

Her wind-fumbled, starlight languished hair

is too cliched, too quotidian a muse.

There’s no greater disdain than the

looming whiteness of an empty page.

The fractal slap of mockery, bones to ashes.

Resolve is a finger-smudged daguerreotype.


Writer’s Block feeds on my heart for dinner.

Blood for appetizer. Blood for the main course.

Blood for dessert. Blood for nightcap.

A forgotten morsel of ache is left on the

plate. Its destiny – the giant trashcan on

the street. Inspiration offers its eyelashes

up to the pendulating face of a deadline.

Corpse is a poem inside of me, that won’t rise.


I sit back in quietude in this waiting room.

The platform number blurred, the train

anonymous. The clock - frozen anachronism.

Hope isn’t a nodding, subservient linearity.

A poem waiting to be born must be

prefixed by the blessings of an ancestor

goddess, named benediction.

Faith is the amulet of validated musculature.


I remember that “stanza” is Italian for

a room, a stopping place, a lodging.

I dip my toes into the primality of this void,

learn to trust that it is multitudinous -

a womb, a belly, a repository, a heart.

And, will lead me to a tentative, first “stanza”

slowly opening out into an entire poem.

A poem is a house, a home, a homecoming.



Urna Bose is an award-winning advertising professional, writer, poet, editor, and reviewer. Her poetry has gone viral globally, for five consecutive years. She won various awards and has been the brainchild behind a vast body of iconic advertising campaigns. A willing slave to the written word, Urna believes that soulful poetry and gooey chocolate cake can pretty much fix everything.