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© Siddharth Nishar


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You wore her skin like battle-dress

and her kisses left you bullet-proof;

Do you remember laughing as you raced into swords?

How her blood knits your wounds,

How the holes in your heart left rubies on the earth?

Your stories decorate fairy-tales and prayer-dreams now.

You conquered haunted forts,

and sang serenades on their terraces,

Do you remember the ghosts?

Do you remember the bivouac she built inside her chest?

Her ribcage was steel tempered beyond breaking

and you were secret nightmares let loose.

She anointed you with her tongue,

cracked your wishbones and declared you the maker of your destiny.

Do you remember the silence of her chambers?

She burnt your fingers like incense sticks;

Others see the ash you wear and flee;

The brave hurry to draft praise and become your statue.

But do you remember screaming against her arms

when her bosom was the only church that would take you in?

You learnt that tears don't oil armors well enough,

that wars cannot be fought with fire in your hands --

Your passions had burnt your laughter into greedy poetry

and you raged against her embrace

Even as she blinked away your explosions,

Even as she whispered balm into your soul.

She borrowed the stars and punctured the death in your eyes

with their jagged, searing edges.

Do you remember the joy that flooded out then?

She beamed at you with the satisfaction of a sculptor --

You were the Sun for months!

and she the ether that held you.

Does that make her touch cold metal?

Does she offer silence when you yearn for war-drums?

Is her altar too austere a station for your chariot?

Tell me, do you remember her now?

#poem #battle #sword #land #dress #silence

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