One of the last things

By Akhil Katyal

‘…she had a song of ‘willow;’
An old thing ’twas, but it express’d her fortune,
And she died singing it: that song to-night
Will not go from my mind’

One of the last things she dreamt about

was her classroom

but only as someplace she could not find.

‘I am walking in the corridors, Akhil,

I have to take my class

but I keep on searching for my classroom,

there are so many rooms here,

and doors, but none which are mine,

I am lost in the corridors

that I have walked in all my life’

Half waking, through that haze of medicine,

one of the last things she dreamt about

was water,

was being thirsty.

They had stopped it in her diet.

‘It interferes with the kidneys,’ the doctors had said,

‘it obstructs recovery.’

On the ventilator, delirious, she had told her sister,

‘I have become so poor

I cannot even afford a glass of water’

How do I claim, Lalita,

this, your wealth,

how tonight my eyes itch and it bodes weeping,

a sea brims in the eyes,

and all this water, your wealth,

all this, while you are sleeping.


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