Friday, December 21, 2018

"I Cannot Believe In Ghosts" by Aparna Sanyal, Poet of the Week

I Cannot Believe In Ghosts
Aparna Sanyal
The live son of the dead ghost 
takes liberties we cannot.
For the belly of a beast has been 
his womb for longer
than a life’s gestation.
Grime rubbed streets rise
to greet him, the pavements
carefully cradle his hair fluff,
as he slumbers. 
So, he roams them now,
their rubbled devastation suits
the land-mined expanse of his heart.
He smokes chillums dry,
then races to a grave, nimbler 
and faster than his body cares 
to live. 
Tired before he wakes, 
sleeping without rest is 
his natural state.
Dawn wakes him to nibbles
and scrabbles and the stench 
of just-there 
fears that are his every season:
sun to rain,
rain to sun. 
No wonder then, 
that his beauty blinds me
so surely, so completely, 
that I must un-see him, 
before his scrubbed bright light
eclipses my day. 

I cannot believe in ghosts, 
for if I do, 
their mortal children will
take my breath away. 

Poet’s Notes: Once again, I awaken to an India of giant statues and jumlas, monuments to man’s hubris, as right before our steel and glass homes, millions of unseen ghosts crowd the streets, living their lives on the edges of ours. I weep but do nothing for I too am inured to their plight having lived with them willfully ignoring them my whole life. I too am as guilty of the conditioned apathy that every Indian develops as a coping mechanism to exist in a land that has so many homeless people that they could fill entire nations.

Editor’s Note:  Sadly, homelessness is a serious problem in America, too, though not nearly as bad as in India.  It is a privilege to publish this one as the last poem to appear in Songs of Eretz by Aparna as an FC.

I am so proud of Aparna and what she has accomplished and that Songs of Eretz will forever be a repository of what will become known as some of her "earliest work."  I knew from the moment that I read her first contest poem a year ago that she was destined for great things.  I will certainly follow her career with great interest and will dearly, dearly miss her unique and wonderful contributions to Songs of Eretz. 

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