Crossing the Line
About the Author
Prantik Banerjee teaches English in Nagpur, Maharashtra. His first book of poems, A Postscript on Missing Keys, was published by Writers Workshop, India.
The Keeper of the Dead and Other Stories is his first collection of short stories, published by Dattsons, Nagpur. He has also written Cultural Studies: Texts and Contexts and Theory in Praxis: Discourses on Literature and Culture.
His writings have appeared in Sahitya Akademi’s Indian Literature, Journal of the Poetry Society of India, PEN, Quest, Brown Critique, Kavya Bharati, and online poetry sites. He was featured as Poet of the Month in “Stanza”, Femina, by Kamala Das.
We came together
flashing our lipstick, fisting our cigarettes,
clutching our lives in desperate lines.
The room ironed out
the strangeness, for the moment,
as we settled down
to a light-hearted business;
didn’t we, after all, solicit
one another’s company?
“It’s going to be a long evening, friends,” the host announced,
“of baring souls, parading pain –
hope you won’t mind a bloody verse or two!”
As the pages turned
and syllables skittered in the air
we injured a poetaster’s pride
over a mixed metaphor,
and killed another wordlessly
over a run-on line.
For a few, we clapped grudgingly,
munching wafers until the soda
ran out of fizz.
When we returned our separate ways
with the lives of others clinging to our shirts,
the lines we had read were quickly forgotten.