Hari Adhikari

How dare you kiss these eyes?

Pockets of lust
beneath my throbbing heart,

that’s what
I had sold out to you--

lips of my private fish
that have lost its translucence,

stale nipples that
wouldn’t glimmer and grow tout,

sunken balloons
of my thighs that would throb only

to grow dull
and then freeze

in business-like haste.

Oh! how dare you do this!

Even from my own self
I had kept them hidden,

the secret
of these eyes is all I had.

These very eyes had
once seen my Prince in my dreams.

How dare you kiss these eyes?

Incarnation of Hunger

Dust-colored, fragile-limbed,
and of medium height,

these wandering women
are my weakness

and my lost pride too.

Bare to the bone,
foul-smelling and famished,

these kids are my family inmates,
and live pictures  of my  lost childhood.

Near agony of frozen hearth,
empty cooking  bowls

 and dispossessed huts,
I meet them,

these sunken-cheeked
feverish images of my love.

In the dried-up
water wells of their famished eyes

lie the greatest
dreams of my youth.

That mob
of famished human beings

emerging on the unfortunate track
engulfed by ugly chaos of untimely landslides,

they are my tribe
and the population of my tribe.

Out of that moaning woman’s womb
shuffling along the nightmare of that crowd

distributing blessed food of tears and sweat
was I born on a similar cold highway.

Now, turning over the poisoned harvest
of guilt when I am forced to live with these kids

and these women,
very true incarnations of hunger,
I can’t simply be translated
into a line of a poem,

just like the mighty, large-limed demons,
who having forcedly owned

the water, air and light can’t say
they have justly shared  the earth

and glory of its great womb.

Translated from the Nepali by Yuyutsu Sharma

Hari Adhikari

Founder editor of Nepal’s longest running literary magazine Pratik, A Magazine of Contemporary Writing’s Nepali version, Hari Adhikari has published three poetry collections, Sansadma Ek Din, Hari Adhakarika Kavita and Garmentki Gayatri and a book of short stories, Ram Lalko Aakash. He has just published a novel, Eklo Nayak, based on the life of leading political figure, the founder of Nepali Congress and the first Prime Minister after 1990 Democratic Upsurge, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai. He lived in Kathmandu.