These two poems have been prompted by the same opening lines. Although the opening lines are the same, the poems are completely different.
Outside, clouds have smashed head on into the earth as fast as corona. Inside, I have slipped on a zipless dress as fast as corona.
The world is dying slowly here at home
where everyone bears the burden of adjustment. It is the outside we do not worry about.
A prisoner’s horizon coats my eyes. The few lone planes are blemishes on a sky that does not shed a pellucid blue
for humans anymore.
It does not blaze for us to see it naked from every angle.
But we see it stretch and sough for itself. The air has cleared. The fortissimo howls of crows from my bed uncaged ring like a death knell. Dolphins at Marine Drive divulge secrets.
The shimul (1) blooms, a brilliant fuck you red.
The world examines us through the tempered glass of our windows. We dwell in the thin, measly cracks between light and light.
I close my eyes.
The darkness that lets me escape the dark carries a light of its own which it offers to the deep corners of my mind.
I see a ruddy train hot like Guajillo chilli
burning straight through pastel prairies.
Brown stalks of forest still dwindle away into clouds. A couple of elephants amble and grub about crumple some doors
corn and cane. The blithe swish of pearl-grey muzzles easy unlike this slate-grey building block.
They are no longer tamed in their soberness.
The fragility of wild things presents itself
so kindly in my darkness.
1. Red silk-cotton tree (Bombax Ceiba) that blooms in spring (March-April)
The Elephants in Yunnan
Outside, clouds have smashed
head on into the earth, as fast as corona.
Inside, I have slipped on a zipless dress
as fast as corona.
The world is dying slowly here-
at home, where everyone bears the burden
of adjustment. It is the outside
we do not worry about.
On days like these, when
we are made to remember
we are all going to dust-
when this remembrance hits
like a jolt of lightning,
I think of how deftly we shall forget.
Like we forget stricken trees,
saw them into chairs and grace them
with our bottoms-
and how did we teach ourselves this ease
of misplacing the truth, over and over?
Was it as simple as rolling and rolling
on cross-stitched sheets till grooves
of thread latched on, as skin?
For some, it might have been when they found
the sunflowers, first wilting in a book.
Then, in a museum. In a JPEG file.
Or when they spotted numbers in the news
rising and rising and rising, expectedly
like the sun.
As we slowly moulder away indoors,
wipe the calling bell, the knob and go
a little batty keeping away used coins in a box,
the earth allowedly shrugs off its inhibitions.
The air above Mumbai has cleared.
Dolphins at Marine Drive are divulging
their secrets. Canals in Venice have an opening,
after years, to luxuriate in a bath.
A couple of elephants reveal themselves.
The blithe swish of pearl-grey muzzles, easy
unlike this slate-grey building block. They
amble and grub about, crumple
windows and doors, corn and cane
they are no longer tamed in their soberness.
On days like these, I want to unlearn to forget.
I want to recall the crusty, white shell
of each milk tooth, ruptured innards of my jaw.
I want to make a word for when I combed
my dead grandmother’s hair. That time
we stopped visiting the river
after we got rained on, just once.
I will soak up all this loss.
Walk down its long, winding road-
hardened with red earth,
lined with brushwood.
Then sit with my sorrows
cradled in cupped hands, breed
my fledgling reasons to live.
I want to rest my palm
over my heart-
its thumping, homely weight
like a roof over my head.