The Winter Saved Me

The winter saved me.
Those who live on this side
of regret- the humid side-
know. The rain is not a relief.
Just a utility to grow the
year’s grain. Therefore,
the mud and the hurl of
unclean water, the food
from the yesterday’s pooja,
party; strewn on the road,
in unlit rain, its horrible
stench to be taken lightly.

The winter saved me.
Those who hover on this side
of the rim of guilt –
the burning side- know.
The summer is not a relief either.
A long wait for utility rain.
The skin of weary thin patience
is veered against the cloudless
sky; at the prickly heat farm
at noon, canopying the acres
of dry, cracked land that no
farmer’s hand fan soothes.

Belies the autumn: Oh, the
autumn is a joke.
An apology of a season.
An imposter in a sunny dress.
Comes and leaves like Gods. Thin.
Omnipresent. Hence, worthless.
The hope of a coward.
No one to cling to when the
hope turns dew. Or chaff.
Silent foot moulds lay awake
on the deserted rice field to usher
the threshing men home.
But, no one comes.

The winter saved me.
In the spring that I had known
the green leaves in the garden
of moss had known again green.
The color of ill that had splayed out
spleen bile blue; and the tremble, the
sweat, the sorriness scratching the
throat, the cough, the dark black
weight of the door- the sullen
door- are neatly stacked
in convenient almirah folds:
the useless, motionless past.

The winter saved me.
The winter saved me, else I would
be the flame of the pyre, a forlorn star
watching the world grieve between her
stitching chores and pelting of dry water
drops on the tin roof while red, blue birds
bring home food from furlong far.
Ice, ice, ice- don’t come back twice-
smashing blinds, but I was on the road
carrying the rice cart from home
to the success city, in a bitter blizzard.
And the winter killed me.

The winter killed me.
The winter saved me from being sadder.

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