Poetry class – Meenakshi Chawla

 
 
It’s the end of day,

smell it, she commands. Feel it.

Acutely. Minutely.

End of day is a smell. Smell it. Twilight breathing into

the first drifting ripples of night, a stale exhalation.

Dust freckles drumming the sky. Jasmine perfume

losing and finding its way innocently.

End of day smells like the inevitable, folding up

its legs, and getting ready to levitate.

Sometimes it is redolent of remembered fire.
 
 
How does your end of day smell? she asks the class

arrayed randomly before her in the grey grainy room.
 
 
Her retinas imploded in a car crash and

after that she grew eyes on the inside. Safe.

Easy to maintain.

Soon she found she had beautiful eyes. And she

could see better. And why hadn’t colors

been this brilliant before? These vain vixen hues

she now saw in old places, friends’ faces…

Her own look changed nothing. Silver hair knotted up

atop her head, fringe mopping down on the forehead

with its sagging moons and wells.

Vertical body lines taut with untaught parallels.
 
 
She continued her poetry lessons at college. Haiku. Free verse.

The students watched her rhyme fingers and hands.

Her skirts walking on her toes. Her inside eyes.
 
 

Close your eyes. Suck in your ears. Throw away your fingers

and sit still. Let the silence undress before you. Watch.

A poem is birthing.

Feel its deep pain. Your heart sliced open. Throbbing.

Then go closer. Swirl in its heat. Sweat in fear. Panic.

Fall on the ground. Roll in the dust.

No gentleness here.

Birthing is not elegant. Or easy.
 
 

Silence. Eyes closed. Words making love.
 
 

Watch its rhythm, its heartbeat, as it grows… calms…

swallows a few silken sounds, slows its step,

and then,

watch the poem fly out the window.
 
 

Silence.
 
 
One day, months or even years later, it will return. Grey-haired.

Warm with wrinkles. Soulful. Ready to be owned.
 
 
A handful of light remains. It feels overripe. Maybe hungry.

Abruptly, night bounds in from the outside tree and

students drift away.

Darkness guides her home. It’s the end of day.
 
 
 
©2013 All rights belong with the Author.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Poetry class – Meenakshi Chawla

  1. Reading this at the end of my day got me misty-eyed. Very moving.

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