By Omair Bhat
You are a small house in a small town, sometimes
a grey cloud at dusk when you are not a house. When
you are not a grey cloud either, you become a stifled shriek.
You become a memory of dust in exile.
It has begun raining now. And somehow a news
reaches me and I hear that far away
you have fallen cold tonight.
In your arms autumn has frozen
stars to death. From home to only desolate
hollow of an empty grave, your shiver has picked up on poor
sad house, small and blue in the night,
and made it shudder with fear.
Your shingles no more shine
like silver of the moon, you
no more whiten to the light of dawn,
the tusks of your windows are
breaking like ice. Your rivers
have ran dry. Your predilection
for infinite love has wilted away. Tonight,
In your silence I hear motherless
children weep. I hear
that your pain has stirred
dead of our country without a map. What cure
must I invent to hold you together? What prayer must I
say to not let you
fall apart ?
(her fingertips, lovely, like rose petals)
fastened winter into
two long strands,
(so quickly, there, on the porch)
threading needles of love neatly through them,
later hanging them up
on the ledge in sun (I saw it all.)
She plucked snow
and sometimes, absently,
picking rain drops
from the window sill, in haste, a heap
under her feet, I asked her
What are you contriving winter
She said to me,quietly,
seasons fight wars each day now
so who, for instance, knows
when salt of summer will replace
snow on my tongue, and
instead of water in the channels
in the turmoil of winter blood of summer will
flow like spilled gasoline? but, like seeds
of rue from autumn,
we will have winter, washed in rosewater,
for more than two decades.
when wind gathers foliage from
corroded arbours, burns
them in shallow pits with
daubs evening horizons crimson
I will love you then under
muzzles of assault rifles of
out from sandbag bunkers into
silence of our city
I will love you, too often then,
in the bed of olives, my dove, also
sometimes in the tangle of concertina,
in the midst of the lunacy of war, keeping
an ear for gunshots, sirens…
I will love you, on a certain day, in rain
thinking of loving you, in the seasonal mourning,
as a tender act
Omair Bhat is a poet and writer. He tweets at @OmairBhat
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