Shome Dasgupta

Mel’s Diner

Early Bird Special: Charlie Parker
on the jukebox, summer sweat tunes,
a memory amid the notes, noted.
This was when I drank – drunk, drink.
Clack clack ice – click clack counter:
sober now – sober you, still sober.
Once – one time, a morning walk
down the dirt pebble streets of Kolkata,
where stray dogs mother kitten teeth
– blackbirds and cracked satellites,
a conch sings like waves sliding
onto my gritty tongue, a fog-filled
sun. I hear that ringing in my ribs.

Cut and splice: now.

Acadiana rains – a music patters
against the windowsills paned
to my mind: how a silent owl sits
in my garage – my Dida’s red lips
and thin bangles strolling down
her wrists. I listen to ragas and blues
– no more ice and no more counters:
only a brief breeze bringing India
to my Cajun plates. A saxophone,
every now and then, chimes
in to remind me: the music remains
the same – the history of rivers
navigates new paths in chirps and dew.

About the Author

Shome Dasgupta is the author of The Seagull And The Urn (HarperCollins India), and, most recently, the novels The Muu-Antiques (Malarkey Books) and Tentacles Numbing (Thirty West), a prose collection, Histories Of Memories (Belle Point Press), and a poetry collection, Iron Oxide (Assure Press). His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, New Orleans Review, Jabberwock Review, American Book Review, Arkansas Review, Magma Poetry, and elsewhere. He is the series editor of The Wigleaf Top 50. He lives in Lafayette, Louisiana. Find him online at and on Twitter @laughingyeti.