Wednesday, June 6, 2018

"For Eternity Wed" by Aparna Sanyal

For Eternity Wed
Aparna Sanyal

Even graveyards have pure white lilies, intoxicating. 
Adorned in death--resplendent, commiserating-- 
a boutonnière on the tuxedo 
of dusty parchment skin, seep complexioned. 
It covers rattle-dry bones,  
fitted tightly by a tailor-tomb. 
Mulch-wet earth, is the loafer suede--  
creeping up to feet-digits nibbled 
by bridesmaid rats and kin arrayed.
Around, within, without, they roam--
eyehole, nostril, ribcage home. 
These creatures; that live beneath are
sly comers to this untidy feast.
The beetles at the ceremony, minister play,
as earth bride lays claim to groom decay. 
On Golgotha skull, is placed a wreath of thorns,
a kiss divine from the loam is shorn.

The living essence dissipates
into thin shreds of vapour laced 
with memory shrapnel
and fragment plays-- 
of days gone by 
in sliding soft, gentle inaudible sighs.
It watches the beautiful disarray wrought
by muscle, sinew, brain, once taut. 
Finds a gladdened, darkened joy and laughter-- 
that in goings’ butchery, it has given sustaining slaughter
to creatures deemed of nights’ darkness fey.
As dust to dust, soil to soil, it now lays. 
it has of itself, these creatures fed--
and is for eternity, to them wed. 

Poet’s Notes: I wrote this poem on a day when I was thinking about my grandfather’s burial--how he was arrayed in his best suit as if he were headed to church for Sunday service or for a wedding. The obvious questions about mortality and the afterlife followed. Questions I face often, given my upbringing--a mix of Hindu and Protestant but largely scientific beliefs.

Editor’s Note:  This one reminds me of some of the darker poems of Sylvia Plath and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

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