I could go. But why would I?
(যেতে পারি, কিন্তু কেন যাবো?)

Shakti Chattopadhyay

Translated from the original Bengali by
Nandini Gupta

Time to turn back. I think. Too long
I've blackened my hands!
Yet never knew you, as you would.

Now when I stand at a cliff edge at night
The moon calls: Come, come.
On the bank of the Ganga in my sleep
The pyre calls: Come, come.

I could go.
Whenever. Wherever.
But why? Would I?

I shall plant a kiss on my child’s face.

I shall go.
But not just now.
Each one of you I shall take along.
I shall not go alone. Not before it is time.

The original poem 'Jete pari, kintu keno jabo?' (যেতে পারি, কিন্তু কেন যাবো?) was included in the book ('Ami chole jete pari', আমি চলে যেতে পারি) published first in April 1980 by Samakal (সমকাল).

Parabaas, October, 2020

Illustrated by Nilanjana Basu. Nilanjana has been regularly illustrating for Parabaas. She is currently based in California.