Saturday 15 September 2018

Poetry 2018, Third Prize, Swatilekha Roy


Today is cleaning day.
After procrastinating far too long,
The layer of dust has become impossible
To ignore.
With a vacuum cleaner, allergy mask and determination,
I start with old magazines, stagnant with clich├ęd health tips,
Paparazzi, places-to-see-with-your-special-one, nanny ads and,
Blind hopes
Of print worthy life, newspapers glossy with falsehood,
Mites on the dank wood. In me.
On undoing the closet, a putrid smell of the dead arrests me-
Bats. History.
I rummage through years of acquired
Dirt and ghosts of a mirrored past,
Stuffed in a corner, away from the circle of pretense.
A picture of a sunny eyed couple, with much too happiness to restrain
In the minuscule frame.
Christmas savings, baby shoes, gift wraps,
A necklace which isn’t mine
And night club masques, maybe,
We have been wearing those, but never realized.
All this time, we are struggling to keep what isn’t ours-
The hope, the marriage, the baby
That never comes. And reality. Secrets.
Not ours, none of it,
Only yours. Only mine.
This dust is testimony.

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