Sappho

Remembering Sappho today, from ‘To Anactoria’

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In another thousand lives.

A thousand times in a thousand lives you have been brought to me.
These are tangles in my heart that refuse to untie.
Your fingers, like soft moonbeam that hesitates
to illumine the darkness, never run through my hair.

I look for you in between pages of my notebook,
in the dried up lily stuck in them—old and withered.
I look for you in the scent of rain washed grass
and your scribbles on my notes from class.

I try to find you in postscripts and letters,
in dog-eared books and toffee wrappers and crumpled paper—all that remains of us.

I remember the way your lips moved when
you described how water felt,
running between your fingers,
and how my breath hitched when I thought of them in my hair.
I remember how your palms caught the sunlight
and your eyes twinkled like stars,
I remember the joy in your laugh
and your smile like the only diamonds I’d ever need.

A thousand times in a thousand lives you have been brought to me.
And once again must another thousand years begin.

I find you everywhere and in everything I lost you in. And I know, as sure as the weight of cold, as sure as night after day, that is all I’ll find of you in this life.

Beginning

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Prinsep Ghat, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

The end of a long summer day,
my weary body slumping on the
unpleasantly warm concrete

and the sun begins to set on the
distant noise of the roads,
blue, yellow, orange then a deep ink.

A small bubble of peace before the
chatter of people drowns it all—
and the heart brims with memories
like the sunlight split into a
million glittering drops of golden water.

Another tired sunset.

My city shakes herself slowly—
her dust settles down
under the weight of the violet
and the street lamps are surrounded by gray halos.