by Smitha Vishwanath

I waited for a call
My alkaline blood curdling
The pungency burning my insides
I tasted harshness on my tongue
And bitterness in my skin
I was a wisp of a child waiting—

I waited as a prisoner waits
For a glimpse of the open sky
To feel the sun’s rays on tired bones
Hungry for a bowl of kindness—
from those who had beheld
my mother’s generosity and been graced with fleeting time.

I became a miner—
at the bottom of a shaft
the heat of waiting—
turned the liquid iron in my heart
into steel

I waited no longer
Or maybe it had become a part of me—the waiting
Like my aching
Feet—I could walk
I could run, I could jump; I did not miss
Or crave for painless soles

Then I lost my father
And a shooting pain rattled every bone in my body
And pricked every pore in my skin
They say fresh wounds heal quickly
It’s the old wounds that are the worst
If they flare up again

I became a wisp of a child
I became a prisoner
I became a miner
I am still waiting
Is that so bad?

PAINTING: Blue Woman by Eugene Leroy (1955).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The pain of losing my mother in 2006 had dulled over time only to resurface now with the loss of my father. I remember feeling lost at sea then and I feel the same now. It is the pain of losing someone and being left alone to climb back up again that led to this poem.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Smitha Vishwanath is a banker by profession, a blogger by choice, a poet by accident and an artist at heart. She published her first book of poetry Roads: A Journey with Verses in July 2019. Her poetry has been published by Rebelle Society, Silver Birch Press, and SpillWords Press. Her poem “Do you have dreams?’” was recently featured on the National Poetry Writing Month 2021 website. Visit Smitha on her website.