pervasiveness of loss - prathiksha


caitlin peck


Last week,

it rained so much,

the city shut down

and for the first time in years,

the old mango tree

in our compound

grew impatient

and uprooted itself.


The moss laden bark

crumbled loose from the trunk

when it hit the ground.

It now lies in an outline

as if to isolate

the scene of crime

from the rest of our lives.

Torn in uncalculated haste,

the white roots

stick out of the dirt

like blind accusations

at the weeping sky.

(Your mother asks,

Isn't this where I'd found her?

She laughs at how grave

your face had looked

as you demonstrated for a friend

the secrets of tea-making.

How best to rid the soil

of pebbles and suspensions

before mixing it with water.)


After you left,

I have spent nights

sitting on your bed,

trying to see

what you saw in the shadows

that the branches of our tree

threw on the walls at night,

when you called for me-

your voice impaling the walls,

like a wire

puncturing my slumber

to pull me out.

But, the years

have cataracted my eyes

and images have hardened.

Nothing ever flows

to rearrange itself into metaphors.

Shadows remain shadows.

Tonight, the walls are empty

and the nightmares

that plagued your nights

lie in the rot

along with the fallen branches,

and I wonder if I told you this,

would you return home.


- prathiksha

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