One day I will write about the glorious saptaparni.
Not today, for today there’s no time.

I will write about its evening smell, those whorling flowers of meaning.
White little petals that glisten cat-like in the dark.

I will write about that fragrance that follows you at night
Like a ghost just born and awake to see you.

The whiff that gives life to air, your thoughts.
I will write about that and more.

But right now there’s no time.
The feeling – when you are near a saptaparni.

That a bewitching fairy lives there, rooted in October
Only to fly away as the cold sets in.

She is here for a night or two, in the breezy October air
To tell us: here I am – there is life – even if you cannot see it.

And the fragrance of life is what lives on forever.
But you know, and I know, these flowers are there only for a few nights more.

The whorl of white that gives life to you, is going to disappear
Sooner than you can spell frangipani, for that is its variety.

Infinite or not, a cousin of the delicious champa that hangs around
Nearly all year, evergreen as a blessing.

Devil’s weed they call you Saptaparni, that spirits live in you,
That delicate sweet intoxication I feel when I am in your presence

When I close my eyes and take deep breaths in, when all meditation is now,
They say this is an addiction, the lure of the flower, the lost lover.

But I don’t believe that, just as I don’t believe the forest dweller who crosses you
In a hurry, for to wait a moment longer has its perils.

Just as I don’t believe in the clock with its many arms talking about daylight
And I can’t believe that your bark is a scholar’s desk, writing furious.

For now, Saptaparni, you are nothing but a breath that fills my city in the evening
Did I say my city? Delhi is never my city till it is end October when you are the very breath.

And you are Delhi, the Delhi of evening haunts with my parents years ago
The three of us holding hands, the breeze of Saptaparni as if there is no tomorrow.

I will write about all that, one day I will, when there is time
To breathe and write at the same time, when it is time to believe

There is life, it is this it is this a mug of coffee, and you Saptaparni,
Your arms nestled around, my raat ki rani.

Waiting for me to pause in my tracks, once again, as if for the first time
And then remember again to start walking on air.

Amlanjyoti Goswami’s recent collection of poems River Wedding (Poetrywala) has been widely reviewed. His poetry has been published in notable journals and anthologies around the world. A Best of the Net nominee, his poems have also appeared on street walls in Christchurch, exhibitions in Johannesburg, an e-gallery in Brighton and buses in Philadelphia. He has reviewed poetry for Modern Poetry in Translation and has read in various places, including New York, Delhi and Boston. He grew up in Guwahati and lives in Delhi.

Featured image credit: Flickr