Pine Scent

By Mallika Bhaumik


A password is often a prosaic keepsake of a faded romance, sometimes perhaps an idea of a home one longs to return to.
An overcast sky, the concrete of the city recedes giving space to the smell of wet earth, a coiled creeper looks up to drink the rain,the tick-tock of time rolls down a valley that was once strewn with poetry of our younger days.
The spread of the olfactory root is an asylum, I try to draw a route map of the bottled odours, how they tiptoe in to settle down, how I grow to become a habitat.
A whiff of familiarity and I walk back to touch the whirring of an emotion ~the damp earth, orchids, rhododendrons, the whispering forest trails refreshing the sound of our footsteps from some other time; turning bodies to tangible dreams, nights to blooming cornflowers.
I am somewhat like a vagabond cloud holding in me particles of places, their smell, colours, their warm embrace.
A folder opens window to our archived youth, a dash of a fuchsia dupatta grows wings to become a firefly, brings back some pitter-patter of rain, vignettes of our Shillong days.
deep deep within
a rippling lake..

Mallika Bhaumik has a Master’s degree in English literature from the University of Calcutta. Her works have been featured in many reputed mags like Mad Swirl, Cafe Dissensus, Oddball magazine, Shot glass journal, Kitaab, In parentheses, Stag Hill journal, Harbringer Asylum, Madras Courier, The Alipore Post to name a few. She is the author of two poetry books. Her first book,’Echoes’by Authorspress,New Delhi, has won the Reuel International award for the best debut book,2018. Her second book ‘How not to remember’ has been published by Hawakal Prokashona, Kolkata (2019). She is also a nominee for the Pushcart Prize for poetry, 2019. Her poems are included in the Post Graduate syllabus of BBKM University, Dhanbad,2020. She lives and writes from Kolkata .




love quarantined

By Mallika Bhaumik

I pull up the blinds
and look at the glassy darkness waiting outside,
night is a pause,
droplets of the day's fatigue gathered in its palm,
its sighs and shadows coming back 
like cards from an anonymous lover, his
unclaimed love.
An insomniac tells the tale 
of the time that has flown through me, its slippery mossy trail, 
of a heart that remains folded in a Kashmiri wooden box, the smell of unread verses,
the fluid love of Darbari Kanada slow dance on my skin.

I close my eyes
Night becomes a long lonely stretch of asphalt
sound of footsteps fading, mingling with the dark 
an eerie silence envelopes a fear 
stretching itself to the fragile china cup that brings the day to my lips,
the quotidian of virus laden news and hand sanitisers follow me
a black kitten mews around the bin
I go through another day of quarantine.

Mallika Bhaumik has a Master’s degree in English from the university of Calcutta.Her works have been widely published in reputed e mags like Cafe Dissensus, Shot Glass journal, Harbinger Asylum, Mad Swirl, In Parentheses, Madras Courier to name a few. Her first book of poems, Echoes (2017) by Authorspress, has won the Reuel International Award for the best debut poetry collection, 2018. Her second book of poetry is, How not to remember (2019) by Hawakal Publishers. She is a nominee for the Pushcart Prize for poetry, 2019. Her poems have been included in the PG syllabus of BBKM university, Dhanbad (2020). She lives and writes from Kolkata