There is a Season

it takes death to teach us
that dying is not desolation,
living is.
for that
we have death to thank,
for desolation 

november: water

there’s something solitary about november
like dark smudges on still water

like waiting for a friend to return from the river of summer
(or is it from some mountain fall)
not knowing that a pre-winter bite has swallowed him whole

but he’s left behind a hole in the chair he sat in
in the shape of his laughing mouth


december: tree

bare life.
the plenty, the lone.
and another year is done for, done in.


january: gravestone

someone walked over my grave at least twenty times today.

each time i knew i could name the footfall, it lifted a heel and toe in tandem and hovered in the air
above just out of touch. the face that matched its step fell out of step. my breath which caught, fell
again, a little shorter, a little fainter, more sorrowing. not knowing, yet knowing sharper, like a knife,
for that missed step.

february: pocket

what is this gentle foreboding, or is it a foreclosing; a sense of something dropped, left behind, fallen out when I was not looking.

were you hiding in my pocket then, keeping my hand warm as it bunched in the chill, unknowing of your blood leaking heat into mine. and then suddenly you were gone, my fingers frosty in the darkening sun.

or were you crouching in the crumpled innards of my bag, my numb nails searing accidentally in fumbling for car keys, burnt and recoiling, searching for the cold comfort of steel and surprised by the skin of you.

or the smell of you, seeping through an assortment of my scattered selves, pens, hairbrush, notebook, phone, migraine pills, tissue pack with grubby dogeared ends buffeted by the jetsam of my life. anchored by a couple of keys lost and found a few times every day in those folds of cotton and zippers you occupied. if briefly.

or the sound of you, ringing lightly in my ear at an odd moment of afternoon when I tossed my head for the comfort of earrings swinging against my neck. a low sound it was, almost a memory of a whisper unheard. and then you fell out silently like a word unspoken and I flailed a cupped hand under my ear, my palm curved to catch a shooting star.

postscript: window

so much beauty in crevices of grey
steely promise
in bar and grill, star and flower.

so much menace
in a window shut wide open
sheeted with darkness.




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Brinda Bose Written by:

Brinda Bose teaches English at Jawaharlal Nehru University, and is co-founder of MargHumanities

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