Thursday, September 10, 2009

Death left for good by the last train

Death left for good by the last train,
and my grandmother stood waving to it.
Not in farewell, but frantically,
to stop it and get aboard. She would have run,
if she could. But now she will only get better
and better in not being able to run,
she will build it up like a storied cake
that endlessly climbs the skies of her
storied past. But no death will be the cherry
on top. For death left for good
by the last train.

I was just beginning to get used to death,
when it chose to leave for good
by the last train. Its scent,
that once spread as strong
as the slapping grin of a jasmined head
in a sweaty bus, ceased to be. Forgive me,
but it had nothing to do with the fragrance
of hospital corridors; the scent of fear.
Death smelled of a million things.
Of coffee from a half-drunk cup, the soap
that smoothed out the fall in the bathroom,
the old starch of the saree that strangled,
the car perfume fighting the blood stench
on the steering wheel, etc.

But mostly death was sound for me. It took
voices away.Many dear ones I mourn,
I have forgotten how they sounded.
I hear them in my own voice now,
as if reading them from a book;
they have been muted out.
But now voices will stay and sing
and speak and curse forever,
at once, or taking turns, or muffling each other,
but forever.
They will also mourn the only thing
to be mourned: that death left for good
by the last train.


carp said...

'But mostly death was sound for me. It took/
voices away."

Aspects of your poem are beautiful.

Some of us speak in cliches. Some of us love. said...

Thanks, I know it is rough. The problem with blogging and premature sharing. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. It is also good to now have another blog to read!