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Stamp by Suyashi Smridhi

Updated: May 22, 2020

Old and worn out,

I made my way

Into the hands of a stamp collector.

No longer do I knock on doors

In desperate need of warmth.

No longer do I deliver news

Solely meant to break hearts.

No longer do I caress

The folds of an envelope

Concealing words in its creases.

For years I waited

In a dusty corner

On a forgotten shelf

Brushed aside for faster means,

Till I caught her curious eyes,

Trying to collect vintage.

As if vintage signalled

The completion of history,

The demise of time itself.

Wrinkled now,

She finds no use for me,

In a world of instant touch.

She dislodges me from my rusty corner

Smoothens my crimps

Only to forget me inside

A drawer of miscellaneous things

Reeking of nostalgic happiness.

I wait for fluttering heartbeats

In the midst of cluttered death.

After decades,

When light illuminates my rumples again,

I see a young boy,

Gazing at me intently,

With furrowed eyebrows and puckered lips.

He reminds me of her

But he is younger, mellower, quieter,

With the same curiosity for vintage.

“Mumma”, he yells

Unmindful of the noise

He stirs inside my solitude.

“I have found another stamp,

This one is from 1930”, he shouts

Rummaging through emotions

That I witnessed only

When the secrets tumbled out of envelopes

Claiming despair, displaying ecstasy.

“I will paste it in my stamp collection”,

He says, and smiles to himself,

As if vintage was now only evidence

From an era no longer thought of.

I dreaded my permanent address

After living in temporary shacks

For most of my life.

Even when the wait was longer,

I knew that transience would finally take over,

And gently trudge me along

To a different time and space.

My fears were unfounded;

As he affixed me next to a stamp

12 years my junior,

I discovered a similar longing

For sentiments now stuck inside screens.

Memory collapses into space

Time oscillates between conundrums

Only the stamps could have resolved.

And so the stamp book shares many stories,

If only the child

Could read in between the lines,

That separated me from 1942.

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