Ayesha Chatterjee picture

Ayesha Chatterjee was born and raised in Kolkata, India. She has lived in India, England and the USA and is now based in Toronto, Canada, after eighteen years of living and working in Germany. She graduated cum laude in English Literature and German Studies from Smith College, Massachusetts, where one of her most vividly remembered courses was a lyric poetry class taught by Joseph Brodsky. Her poetry has appeared in nthposition, autumn sky poetry and BluSlate, and has been recognized in the Guardian’s online Poetry Workshops and the Writer’s Digest Poetic Asides blog. In 2010 she read at the Poetry with Prakriti Festival in Chennai, India. Her first poetry collection, The Clarity of Distance, was published in 2011 by independent Canadian press, Bayeux Arts.

  Ayesha Chatterjee '91


An ounce of eternity
Still and colourless.
I’d like to think I held that moment when
The storm broke
And you turned to me, rain
Coursing down your cheeks
And flattening your hair –
Tears, cried somewhere else,
Delayed reflection on your startled face.

Everything at once.
No sign now of immensity
Except along the edges, cleanly cut,
Replacing skin in painless surgery,
Molecules with molecules, liquid shifting air.
Myself seen through myself.
Which to believe?

Perhaps I hold a part of you, a bead of sweat,
A breath. Who knows
What wisdom I have failed to read
In the simple act of breathing.

Where I come from, you drink eternity
At your peril. Nothing tasteless
About that muddy, sickness-ridden concoction sliding
Turgid under flawed bridges.
Where I come from, eternity
Is crystal-cold and stings.
It’s on my list
Along with ziggurats and snow leopards
And the dragon-jewelled lights of Peking.