Her

Decades ago, someday, I must have

sucked manna from her breasts

decades later, I’d learn to unlove the divine

I must have suppressed my impatience with her ragged lullabies

composed of a thousand lies, and love –

indomitable, unfaltering, and so dangerously consuming

that reality, as enormous as life,

threatened to become a lifeless dream. But I do not remember any of that.

 

But I do remember. I remember her in the flowery, homely scent that

wafted across the hall from her imperfect pancakes – or perfect, I couldn’t tell-

in the silent sing-song of her footsteps, and

the familiar jangle of gold, coral, conch-shell which was a signal

that she was near. I wanted to bury my head in her sari

but I dared not rise from my chocolate river

and candy forest, until she

enveloped the whole of me in her morning kisses

which always tickled me into consciousness,

away from the delicious magic,

but I laughed. I always laughed.

 

Then I clambered to the age where the magical was the real and

the sound of her feet was a formerly beloved melody,

an eavesdropping, deplorable parasite, while

those morning kisses reminded me of the kisses that I deserved

and craved, but didn’t own, and I pushed her further, further away until she,

she turned into the last chapter of the classic that

had been wordlessly gathering dust at the back of my buried bookshelf.

She was the shameless intruder in an abysmal existence

– of intoxication, surrender, annihilation

and desire – was there (or was there not) a time when

the only abyss I knew was the ebony cascade

that brushed my face every time she

bent down to kiss me – the only abyss

that I wanted to fall into again

and again

 

So many strange faces, so many rusting armours –

they came and went. Dreams in reality, reality in dreams, they came

and went, and stayed. What also remained was I. And her.

She never asked for an apology, I never offered her any.

So much to forgive, so much to forget, yet the elixir lay

in the hidden dust beneath her fingernails –

an enigma, redolent of pancakes, among the tiny planets

in a moonless sky, it was her turn to evade, mine to chase.

Today, decades, decades later, I’m still chasing,

and evading. Today, I bend down

to kiss her wrinkled, papery forehead – she giggles, and says –

‘You have hair just like your grandmother’s. It was an abyss that I –

oh, but you wouldn’t know.’

You’re wrong, I want to say, I do know. But she hums

a familiar tune from another life,

which she remembers.

[Published in Random Poem Tree and republished in Quail Bell Magazine]

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22 thoughts on “Her

  1. Pingback: Her – Titolo sito

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