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Poetry Month: GOODBYE

some goodbyes are tender.⁣

like a wave’s quiet retreat⁣

from your feet with⁣

salty sand⁣

filtering through cracks ⁣

between your ⁣


or like the gentle lift of⁣

an airplane⁣

taking off and ⁣

taking you to ⁣

places unknown;⁣

some go by unnoticed.⁣

like the heavy drum of ⁣

your heart as you⁣

run across an⁣

empty platform only ⁣

to miss⁣

the last train⁣

back home⁣

or like the slow oscillation ⁣

of a coffee shop’s⁣

open/closed sign⁣

as you leave ⁣

and ⁣

never look back;⁣

some, i believe linger⁣

in time, like⁣

the scent of an⁣

empty ⁣

air diffuser⁣

fastened to the⁣

air conditioner ⁣

of my car as i⁣

drive you ⁣


the airport⁣

and your⁣

nimble fingers there⁣

suspended ⁣

in mid-air ⁣

to bid me one last⁣


or maybe⁣



unfolding this ⁣

little piece of paper⁣

and your⁣


graceful and ⁣


reading my⁣





I want to learn the word for goodbye

in at least sixty-five languages,

so that with each passing year,

as I come close to the final poof,

the whimper, the fall,

the finality of it all,

I have a soft, arresting way

to greet it.

For now, till my mouth

learns the rotund rolls

dancing off my palates,

opening my foreign valves,

let me hold what I have

at the doorway:

Two dried flowers;

An epitaph--

The hope that when all words are lost,

the smell still lingers on;

If not above, then hidden somewhere

under this pile of earth.

-Ayush Jain, For No Obituary Should be Abandoned


this is a farewell to my past. to the burdens that are no longer mine. this is a shedding of skin, a breath of rain, a step into newness. this is adieu, for now. a pat on the back for all the hard nights and terrible mornings before getting to the grind again. this is rest. this is recollection, restoration, this is a kindness. this is goodbye, and it feels like singing. this is the ending of an era, the moment when we bask in silence after soaking in the movie. this is a lifetime, this is the awards seasons, this is the food after so much hunger. this is a celebration of what has happened, and a welcoming of what is next. this is a smile. this is a musical, this is a love song. this is a start.


Every newspaper

Has a section reserved

Everyday you turn the paper

To page 8

And in the lower left corner of the page

There are three little obituaries

On some days, five

Even six. "Mr. John Doe passed away

To his heavenly abode


His life and deeds continue to inspire us"

I have never seen that tiny section

Not announce a death

Everyday, people lose people

Everyday, people say their goodbyes

In school they teach us

The correct format for everything

Formal letters, notices, advertisements

But not obituaries.


Saying goodbye is something

You cannot teach on a blackboard.


lately, I haven't been myself

the whole world screams of pain,

sorrow, lost hope and death

a new type of ghost haunts me

the first thing I do in the morning

is check the number of deaths

caused by the virus

my heart sinks a little

for all those who couldn't

say their goodbyes

to their families and friends

in the beginning,

death was an acquaintance

the first time we met, I was 18,

looking at a 90 year old man

I called nanaji, my dadi's father

everyone said death is inevitable

that it was his time, so I accepted

and said my goodbye

the same year,

one of my favourite singer

Chester Bennington committed suicide

and it was 2 a.m when I got the news

I cried the whole night, it felt wrong

I was angry and in so much pain

I still find myself crying when

someone plays one more light

that was his last song,

a goodbye that saved so many lives

but couldn't save him

the next year, 2018,

death was called a disease

liver cancer, stage four

I watched life being

slowly sucked out of my aunt

she was always a fighter

but this time her body gave up

she said her goodbyes

hooked up to machines

struggling to breathe

the same year, two months later

death was loss of a loved one

Dadi and I were on the same bed

when it happened, the loss of her child

marked the end of her life, her hope

I remember my last words to her were

"Ay heroine, dekho kaun aaya"

that was the last time she responded

it was her goodbye to me

and she was gone, lying on the bed

since that day,

death and I sleep in the same bed

I cried when I read about the trains

carrying dead bodies in 1947

I cried when I saw videos from Italy

I cried when Nairobi was shot

right now, I can't stop crying

even though death isn't personal

pain is real, even if it's not yours

and today, the sound of goodbyes

has reached its crescendo


Goodbyes are just hard to swallow⁣

one moment, someone is there⁣

and the next moment you are talking to the stars⁣

And when i see you⁣

talking to them⁣

I must admit I feel jealous,⁣

for you know a love⁣

that exists⁣

even after a life reached⁣

its end.⁣

You both in a perfect unison,⁣

always so sure⁣

you would be together⁣

in life or after this.⁣

And here, my friend,⁣

you are still in love.⁣

Some of us⁣

just wonder where the other person would be now-⁣



eating their meals with⁣

someone else after us, or⁣

while being with us.⁣

Love seems to reside⁣

inside a prison⁣

that it changes its address⁣

hoping, for once, it would⁣

breathe light and 'forever'⁣

in the air.⁣

We have never felt safe ⁣

sleeping on our lover's chest;⁣

thinking, what if the next moment love declares it has shifted its destination;⁣

or thinking.. when love will⁣

resume its⁣

game of sudden outburst of anger⁣

throwing filthy words or its hands on us.⁣

Goodbye indeed is a hard thing to swallow⁣

when goodbyes are nothing⁣

but closures you seek from love.⁣


between elegies, eulogies

and black and white obituaries,

we find the passage of time has

stopped. suddenly. deliberately.

to the point that i don’t even remember

the 29 other poems i wrote in this

otherwise fragrant month of April.

all i remember are verses, quotes,

words of advice and goodbye notes written in languages

that once wrote of great love and stories of simplicity.

2020 is the year of emergency evacuation,

unsolved heartbreaks and yesterdays turning into

memories of great distance that if viewed from afar

will appear to be scattered dreams that once

echoed the joy of summer releases, and

dialogues interspersed with poetry and emotion.

perhaps someday, i will ask for gentler times,

and silence to contemplate this turn. but i sit here tonight

staring blindly into this screen, the playlist in my head

has not learnt the word ‘pause’ with song after song

bringing forth a relentless stream of fresh memories of

home and my mother listening to the radio in the kitchen.

i retreat into a window of the past, wherefrom i gather

the comforting aromas of her everyday recipes.

i have began to draw lines on a sheet of paper,

retracing the journey i made, like a map

for when i need to go back again tomorrow.

it will be the new normal i shall live –

a life that is lived without surprises i cannot endure,

with green pastures on both sides, and Time finally weaving

the patterns that i have always yearned for.


it is perhaps one of the rarest,

most fortunate things,

to experience a goodbye

like the one you’d imagined.


I have to remind myself,

That some goodbyes are harder than others -

An astronaut, bidding adieu to the blue planet,

A mother, letting go of her stillborn child,

The love of your life, unable to love you back.

Sometimes, the hardest goodbyes are never said,

Like when your father dies, without warning,

All you can do is kiss his cold face,

Hold his hands that were once warm

One last time

Before his face and voice begin to fade

Because you were far too young.

Perhaps that is why I find myself,

Unable to overcome separation anxiety

Two therapists later.

I choose instead to write these words

Too real to say out loud.


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