Deleting the Picture

We’re wearing the dumb happy of holiday and wearing it well!

Written by Arundhathi Subramaniam | Updated: December 31, 2017 12:05:40 am
Arundhathi Subramaniam We’re past the clumsy brutalit of eighteen — we’ve delete makeshift faces borrowed persuasions stances without journeys. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

It’s 2005
and we are almost glamorous
the five of us —

the chairs are cane,
my shirt batik,
the sunshine Goa
and Heineken.

We’re past the clumsy brutality
of eighteen —

we’ve deleted
makeshift faces,
borrowed persuasions,
stances without journeys.

We’ve forgiven the treacheries
of student seminars,
wrong addresses
at different ends of the city,
digressions of faith.

No edge
to our voices anymore
when we say Zen
or Gramsci.

We’re wearing
the dumb happy
of holiday
and wearing it well —

and there’s always so much sun.

Against limewashed churches
and cashew plantations of melted green
we’re laughing hard,
beer-glazed, sand-drizzled, stoned
on Sgt Pepper and Kishore Kumar.

And there’s the other picture, look,
where arms entwined,
we are bathed in fierce siesta light
and seem to know this moment
is teetering
on the verge
of never again.

It isn’t difficult, of course
to skip the nostalgia,

to fast forward
the embarrassment
of memory,

to speak,
as others do,
of calcium
rather than satori.

So, the morning I heard
it wasn’t difficult to turn efficient,

to delete
pictures of humming birds
and cardamom tea
and the air ticket you emailed me
never knowing it would be
the one to your funeral.

It gets easier, friend,
with age
to delete, plan breakfast,
turn the page

It would have been easier still
if you hadn’t deleted the sun.

Arundhathi Subramaniam is an award-winning poet and writer on spirituality and culture.

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