Mid Afternoon The Season Changes

Mid Afternoon The Season Changes
By: Jehangir Saleh
Written: September 14, 2010

there is less time inside my body

arms, once branched upwards, now sigh
legs slightly uprooted
leaves showing they were, all along, full of blood

lungs have been fished from a drying stream
wriggling, bleeding on to each other
competing to make larger the tiny patch of wetness
at the bottom of a sand pale
inside my chest cavity

my fat feet can no longer fly

The wind, tired, but enough
Crimson falls in patches, revealing the bones
upon which life grew

Reuniting on the floor to build a tiny furnace for decay,
Leaves cover the paths I made through my body

It’s starting to look as if I was never here

But I’m breathing.

The drying river manages a small tide.

The wind labours through the sand pale.

Inside, two slimy fish rattle

perhaps this disease was around, 1918 Kerala
a village girl
digging for a swollen doll
brushing his tangled hair
he didn’t always need to be animated
from the outside

how trust worthy, you think, our ancestors were
building into our tradition so many years of foresight
anticipating a mutation in the body’s scriptures
cells instructed to produce a pus filled kingdom
for a nomadic, peaceful bacteria
now no longer homeless
now filling the branches of my bronchioles with nails
and making them rust

everyday, after praying, you would help me
mop the floor of my body, and sometimes
mop my body off the floor
while describing to me a vision of life
based on breathes I could not take

we can do no more

the past, you think, has already done the work of figuring out
what to do now:
speak the dead, perform their rituals, feed me contaminated water, recite versus that are spoken, but not said
wait, pray, wait

the past like a snake
that enters every room
before you do

when you look at me
I worry you see a body floating down a barely flowing river,
Already in the midst of a ritual
You speak but cannot say

its light in here
maybe dark outside, maybe I hear rain
maybe the ward is teetering on an unspoken edge

we all breath together

air moves slowly into our bodies, as if entering a series of caves
then rushing out

the two tracks of existence have separated:
we are running on natural time
our bones display a bare geometry
our hands grasp for objects we can no longer reach
we are moved without moving ourselves

the separation between object and subject
that our bodies once dissolved
have been put back
May we still breath for more than the sum of our natural lives
May someone pause and listen to our collective breath
as they would for a field of crickets

i am tired
across the hall, I can hear her tumours struggle to blossom
someone is still staring them down

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