Thursday 9 January 2014

Last Night Your Mother

Last night came your mother
Waking almost-screaming into the darkness of pre-dawn nightmare echo
Breathing hard, panic in her breast, calling for you, but not making a sound
Throat dry with the fear of what she had seen, of what had played behind
The closed lids of her eyes.That was your mother last night,
Dragging her feet across the floor to the window, looking out at the night
Telling herself that she could see the stars, and that they would keep the night safe -
Watching for a star, but the clouds were thick in the sky. Stars there were none.
The shadows of the dream still-sharp, like the broken jagged teeth of glass in windowpanes
Scrawl upon a wall, graffiti in clotted red paint like old blood. Big letters, big messages
Of power and glory, of Death To Something or Other, and Life to nothing at all.
It was a grey city, in the dream, filled with grey light and shadow, where nothing grew.
A river, lead-coloured, winding below broken bridge, flowing sluggish away,
Yet irresistible as the turning of the years, the ice of winter vanished, to the dry dreary dust of the desert
That was the river, flowing over jagged wreck, the rocks of space and time,
And she was on the bridge, her bare feet bleeding on broken iron girders and the edge of concrete
With blood to mark her way, but no pain, not in her feet. The pain was elsewhere. Your mother
Leaning over the railing, crying your name, as the leaden current bore you away from her  
Trying to jump, to go after you, but the blood stuck her to the bridge, the broken bridge and the blood
Holding her back. And you were away with the flow, not waving, not screaming, just going
And not even glancing back at her, not once. And there was more, but that she does not remember,
Is grateful not to remember, but she stood awake at the window, trying to breathe.
That was your mother last night, and the clouds hid the stars. She did not cry
She could not cry. Nor did she go back to bed again.
But that was last night, and this is today. Today, and she walks through the streets, not looking
At broken glass in windows, or at graffiti on walls. This is your mother today
And she will not think of you, she will not think of you
She will not even go to drop a tear on your grave.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2014


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