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Hibernation by Sritama Sen

Art by Arundathi Manakkad


This winter, I'm going the way of woodland creatures.

Shutting myself down (ice bear? computer?)

From tomorrow, mark my leave of absence-

I will be hibernating.

Lovers, friends, online stalkers

Drop your letters in the mail.

Or in my stockings, I'm not choosy.

[ Note: I will be booked past Christmas.

Sleeping burns calories. ]

Ill wishers, I wish you well till February

The cold makes differences impalpable,

I'll sleep through the worst of it.

This quilt, patched squares

Of my mother's turquoise saree-

promised to an older me.

(Older now? Old at least?)

Time to stake my claims.

All the sleep I can squeeze from it

belongs to me, me alone.

In the briny haze of rest,

Cities swell like bruises.

Five factory shutdowns, several High Court verdicts

Endless deferral-

of justice and of Christmas cake.

But what does it matter?

Me- I hibernate.

After waking, will things be better?

The air cleaner? My skin smoother?

(Sorry, the quilt is not a seer.)

Things cannot worsen, if you don't live through them.

I'm leaving winter out,

Don't wake me just yet, dear.

Benefits of hibernation:

No running in circles, no tears,

No bills no calls no open doors.

Just the quilt and the sun

And the endless cold

Turning the tip of your nose too pink.

Let us sleep, and only wake

when frost melts, and things

are made gentler in the heat.

Let us sleep, so when we wake

there will be clouds on every street.

And I will dance, I promise

I won't miss a single beat.

About the poet:

Sritama is a first-year Master's student at Jadavpur University. Since 2010, she has been writing and publishing critical analyses pertaining to the depiction of South Asian culture in mainstream media and fantasy literature. She works as a moderator at Writing with Colour, a network that creates and shares resources for BIPOC representation in writing. Asides from reading, she enjoys researching Mughal-era India and art history, watching Bollywood movies, and gradually building an army of plush toys. Find her on her Tumblr blog @papenathys.

About the artist:

I'm curious about our world and the working of our mind and the universe.

I hope to explore visual art and music like a science experiment, in hope that I could arrive at answers of ‘the unknown’ through my journey or help inspire answers from people who engage with my art / music.

I hope to make visual art and music that is educational and thought provoking, and most of all which inspires positive spirit, collaboration and sustainability.

Follow my work on Instagram @the.girl.from.the.sun


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