Bridge to Global Literature

Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

Shuvra Das

Nov 22, 2020 | Poetry | 0 comments

Disease Triptych


Maya is not at work today;
Maya Sarkar that is,
this very day when the
sun is beautiful and bright
and after being beaten up all night
by the drunken, stealing, devious
loser of a husband.
In dark, puffy eyes
and bloody nose,
she is not ready to show up in front
of prying curious gazes,
to wash other people’s dirty clothes,
clean other people’s rooms,
fold expensive clothes that she will never wear
-so on this very beautiful sunny day
Maya Sarkar called and lied that she has the Dengue.


Maya is not at work today;
Maya Sanchez that is,
this very sunny beautiful day, the
day after yesterday when she bent and
straightened and bent and crawled
and picked other people’s
avocados, and lettuce and strawberries,

red and juicy and plump;

before being chased and held down

and beaten by drunken others
who only show up twice a month
to bite away her paycheck.
So on this very beautiful sunny day
Maya Sanchez called and lied that she has Hay Fever.


Maya is not at work today;
Maya Sinclair that is,
on this very beautiful sunny day,
as the black children play
in the neighborhood
and the violent storm of a man
has passed. He, who hurt
her all night, is now a distant memory.
Her empty purse and empty pockets
are no reason to stay home, but
she is not ready to
type their letters,
and shuffle their papers,
and line up their paragraphs,
and format their gibberish prose-
not anymore.
So on this very beautiful sunny day
Maya Sinclair called and lied that she has the Corona.


On Losing My Wallet in Rome

We were in sweaty jeans and long-sleeved shirts,
a little over-dressed for a day’s walk through Rome.
The long winding paths through the ruins of the Forum onto
the road that led us through more ruins
to the steps of the church of St. Peter in Chains, where Moses lives.
Michelangelo’s Moses that is, in whose company
we spent one whole hour.
Not the taxi driver who took us home
after a long sticky day through Rome.

It was then that I found my wallet gone.

Was it gone when I stooped to drink
some of the ice-cold water at the Colosseum?
Was it at the foot of the majestic Marcus Aurelius
on horseback, a statue we stood admiring?
Was it in the crowd at the Pantheon, as we leaned into
each other to squint through the perfect circle in the sky?
Was it when we giggled throwing coins in the Trevi,
you a quarter, and a cheaper dime from me?
It must have been at Campo-di-Fiori, where
you licked my gelato, and I yours, you had a pink one, and I, a delicate key-lime;
as we wondered whether it was this hot
when Giordano was burnt here at the stake for heresy.

Perhaps that was when I left some of me in Rome.




Shuvra Das

Shuvra Das

Shuvra Das is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and lives in the greater Detroit area. He spent his early childhood in Howrah and graduated from IIT Kharagpur and then did his Ph.D. at Iowa State University. Photography, painting, writing, travel and theater are some of his passions. He is currently involved in a lot of grassroots activism to help save democracy in the US.


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