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not knowing it has been withdrawn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,
if it has no room for you,
that the earth
that holds to her bosom
It does not matter
that there will be no
Those who know
how to fail
always keep scanning
the ground for
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.