Care Label for the Self
When in the middle of an argument, the universe you had learned to snuggle into like a blanket, suddenly pushes its warm, restless feet into loafers and walks away, it is tempting to believe that the damage will be irreparable. It is logical to be lynched by a mob of questions, ransacked by rumours belatedly acknowledged, to find destinations stripped off streets that plot to lead to more, to dismiss belief forever like a menstruating woman from a temple. But before you let the rubber band of patience slide off your one special heart and permit it to break into a thousand pieces, remember that no damage is really complete, that after every bitter war there is still fodder for another. So treat this as ordinary violence, routine and unexceptional. Sour apples, bitter coffee, lost poem, raped body, shred walls, torn limbs, migraine, seizure, schizophrenia, carcinoma, the curfew of conversation in estranged hearts. Arch - says my yoga instructor. Hold for thirty seconds. Now hunch - another thirty seconds. Regular breathing please. Do not hold your breath. I find this works. The air is free. So is misery. One must take only as much as can be held.
Wandering and thirsty once, I found here shelter. Now the last sky mocks my assurance. This ruby sunset sedated with forgetting, asks me where home is, not knowing it has been withdrawn like an imperfect song that once edited, there is no saying in what notes it will return. The faithful have been recalled by pasts that have promised to end better, lead to happier shores. An emptiness stalks these inland streets tonight accusing none but the newspaper rustling against the chest to beat the cold. Grief, in summer, is always lighter. In winter, it must be excused for wearing boots.
However wide the sky, however blue, if it has no room for you, remember that the earth that holds to her bosom your feet sans questions, is enough. It does not matter that there will be no glitter. Those who know how to fail always keep scanning the ground for burnt light from stars that fall.
Basudhara Roy teaches English at Karim City College affiliated to Kolhan University, Chaibasa. Her latest work is featured in LiveWire, The Woman Inc., Madras Courier, Lucy Writers Platform, Berfrois, The Aleph Review and Yearbook of Indian English Poetry 2020-21, among others. She is the author of two collection of poems. Her third collection Inhabiting is forthcoming this year. She loves, rebels, writes and reviews from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India.