I wrote my first poem when I was 12 years old. It was a little poem about death. I’d already lost too many people and was wrestling with impermanence before I ever knew the word. Poetry helped me navigate the world of loss and grief.
I wrote poetry through high school, a little bit during community college, then as an undergrad poems became stories and stories became essays and finally journal entries.
Poetry fell away and other writing took up space. Grad school was the work of academia and the exposing of psyche. Followed by burn out and shallow, boring writing. Only twice was a poem born in all of that.
But now, as the burn out lessens and I come back to myself, the poetic voice resurfaces. This very morning I caught a poem on my commute to work.
Pray for me
The fire in my belly woke and there was nothing left to do but feed it.
Pray for me.
The dreams came twisting from my sleep into the depths of a dark room.
Pheasants wrapped in coital twining. Rainbow feathers. Pushed by brooms from room to room. Sliding.
Undulating peacock serpents. A family of three. Mama and Papa far from me. Curious baby finds my eye and locks. Flies away in a graceful trail of holy feathers. White and turquoise. Delicate spinning madness.
I remember the owl hunt witnessed a week before. The death my grandmother would have predicted. The “seeing in the dark” my post-colonial, post-boarding school, over-educated, urban Indian mind anticipates.
Which is it?
I wake up sweating in the dark. Certain I am locked in an abandoned barn. Boards cracked and crashed. No light, only shadows and blocked doors.
Ghosts telling stories as they slip out through the space by which my consciousness enters. The only thing left of songbirds is the wicked silence of fluttering wings.
The stories are changing. They move along a curve in the path, bending visible. Renewed. Nothing lost. Only re-shaping the way out of dark.