Fourth Stage

Except for playing chess and grasping all

the slokas of his Gita, he did naught

those last few days. Reports had made their call:

Some weeks or two months at the most. We bought

a tiny Bal Gopal—his final wish.

He'd place Him by the pillow, mumbling tales

part-audible: some things about the fish

of his small pond, old cowbarns, virid vales,

and how his village lost these to the city.

His girl, who's in the seventh grade, and wife—

his everything. Their eyes display guilt, pity,

and grief, and say, "He would not live this life

had we been quick." but he's left things on Him

who can flip all things, even time that's slim.

Shamik Banerjee is a poet from India. He resides in Assam with his parents. His poems have appeared in The Society of Classical Poets, Fevers of the Mind, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Westward Quarterly, Ekstasis, The Hypertexts, among others, and some of his poems are forthcoming in Willow Review and Modern Reformation, to name a few.

Sloka: A distich of Sanskrit verse, in which each line contains sixteen syllables.

Gita: Short for Bhagavad Gita, the holy book of Hindus.

Bal Gopal: The child version of Lord Krishna (in this context, it is an idol of Lord Krishna).

Him: God (in this case, the idol Lord Krishna)