Tuesday, February 1, 2011


it’s hot and abandoned,
a glaring yellow,
this July afternoon.

there is a still coolness,
the smell of jasmine and incense,
and inactivity.

Tidbits stacked through life;
conch shells on the shelf
and a Ganesha idol on the table,
all a little dusty.
Paintings on the wall,
signed ‘S.P, class VIII’;
and herself on the couch,
the remainder of what had been a plush, red pride;
like an artifact,
ancient, unheeded
that this house
sucked into its vortex,
somewhere down the line.

She runs a hand
over the faux leather cover,
brown over brown;
wizened over smooth;
wrinkles thrown into relief
by an overhead lamp.
And in the harsh tungsten glow,
she turns the pages.

There was the honeymoon
in the hills,
Orchards and apples,
noses red in the cold
and funny sherpas.

And then there was the fight,
something this picture does not document,
where you're grinning at the lens,
and I just look meek.

It does not speak of
how you walked out on me.
And how I,
in the midst of strangers,
stared at my cup of chai
and cried.
My young heart broke just a little.

And this picture here,
right afterwards,
I'd seen you catch her eye;
I remember her Cashmere shawl,
cream and rich.
And even though you're staring out
at me now,
I had known
so much about you.

it's darker.
The sky gets gloomier
with distant peals of thunder.

She shuffles slowly to the window
and it creaks open
to swirling dark clouds
and a smell of mango blossoms,
heavy and floral.
She aches for the past.

"Eighth grade.
You're missing from this picture.
He's tall and sweaty,
and proud.
With his arms around me,
my eyes betray the fact
that in all his years,
he's been dearer to me
than you ever were.

But of his history,
-lost among crayons squiggles and coloring sheets,
your non-committal agreements
and carelessly gifted toys,
and a very lost mother-
like all the others,
this picture says nothing.

A few fat drops
have fallen
onto the parched ground.

Her eyes turn,
cloudy and moist
to the window
as the world dissolves
into a haze of gray
and sounds merge into
a steady hiss.

"Images and voices
seep in, unbridled.
The deepest layers trawled
of waters I'd only skimmed
the surface of.

The phone call that set it off.
The nurse who took us to the body.
'Asha', her tag read,
that was all I could look at.
'Hit and run', someone's voice.
Your stoic face.
Being freshly childless.

Losing you,
gradual, succumbed to,
was terminated
when I lost you to her.
Losing him
was having my heart teased out,
a little bit every day.
And so,
I'm losing him still.

The rains lift up
as evening sets in.
The sun,
a more benign orange
glows on glossy leaves
and painted surfaces.

she is still,
on the ghost of the couch,
with accumulated death
over the years.
battled with, lost
surrendered to
and piled on heartbreak.

But the coroner's report
would read
'old age'.


  1. Very interesting. And the coroner would state the reason, Old age, and yet she died of pain, of heartbreak. Beautiful lines, sad though.

    Oh, but there aren't any Sherpas in Shimla. :P

    Blasphemous Aesthete

  2. Thank you.
    And the sherpas came for a holiday, to Shimla. :P

  3. You have outdone yourself this time. I second Blasphemous Aesthete in that your portrayal of her pain is beautiful and the fact that she held that pain inside her for too long a time until it killed her when her aging heart could no longer tarry on with it.
    Beautiful poem, Richa. Loved it.

  4. D2, thank you, that really does mean so much. Considering I wasn't considering this as a particularly good write.
    Thanks. :)