a garden of words by Debasish Mishra

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            for my father

what seems the end is not the end
there is more beyond death—
the remnants hang in inferences

in the durability of words
each word uttered from the toothless mouth
is a deathless presence, the nucleus of a memory

if words were like us
they would die and decompose
each bone would take its own time in the burial

but words are like stars
that glitter in the sky of memory
they predate us, they will outlive us

Each word is a dahlia-bud
that I pluck from the branch
in the garden of remembrance

I gather your words in sleepless nights
the way a ragpicker collects broken toys
To fill my nights with the scent of your skin

BIO: Debasish Mishra, a native of Bhawanipatna, Odisha, India, is the recipient of The Bharat Award for Literature in 2019 and The Reuel International Best Upcoming Poet Prize in 2017. His recent poems have appeared in North Dakota Quarterly, Penumbra, trampset, Star*Line, Enchanted Conversation, and elsewhere. His work is also forthcoming in Amsterdam Quarterly, The Headlight Review, Space & Time, Writer’s Resist, and Quadrant, among other places. His opinion essays have been published in leading newspapers and webportals of India such as The Times of India, The Logical Indian, Orissa Post, and Odisha Bytes. A former banker with United Bank of India, he is presently engaged as a Senior Research Fellow at National Institute of Science Education and Research, HBNI, Bhubaneswar, India.