Artist: Marcia Baldwin

From The Mouth Of The River

By Srionti Maitra

It is deep night as I write this. When things die, things like cousins and dreams, and you don’t feel much, or enough to satisfy yourself, it can feel like the death was almost pointless, like your witnessing it meant nothing to you or the cousin or the dream. As such, I have never been so grateful to be able to cry.

This land has bled sand and rust;
These years have ached for moisture.

And the people have fallen like rain,
Warm bodies hitting the ground
With the noiseless splatter of
Amongst a billion.
The hollows still fill with their spit, their blood;
The hollows fill with unfinished last words
And my silence.

There were niceties.
There was ritual.
There were walls enough to build a new world.
And there was my laughter.

When your sinew has flaked
To fill the bellies of worms,
Your skull still grins.
My skull
Still grins.
Yellow teeth shred the saplings that survived me
And clack strangley where they catch the rubble
Of old bones.
And my skull, and everything that surrounds it,
Grins ersatz in the secret light of pyres.

For so long drought stricken,
My lungs have choked on the dust of echoing footsteps.
Every body is cold
Every poem has failed
Every sob has echoed to extinction
Every flame is a memory of itself
And the shadows that flicker are brighter than that which throws them to the ground.
A mutant cousin of grief
Has left me feeling nothing.
I feel nothing.
Not a drop of salt sweet closure
Has watered the seed of my sorrow.

And yet…
Today, I am swollen with hope.

Today, I have unwrapped the yesteryear
From around my shoulders.
I have excavated my heart
And danced on it
To let the words flow through it.
Not the blood.
I have had enough of blood.
I have forgone a body
And become a seed
Become water
Become that which nourishes itself
And licks the salt from the stones of life.

I have trickled out of the dunes
And onto the soil.

I have tasted the moist earth,

And decided to stay.

Today, I am a river.
I flow
And I weep
And I grow,
And the many loves I rooted out
Are pushing out through the wounds,
Up through the cracks.

I am cracked into so many pieces-
I am shattered by happiness,
That my sorrow is real;
That my anger has roots;
That every smile is womb-wet and bloody.
That every tear runs from a fountain,
And that fountain is a vital truth
Which all my walls cannot protect from life.

I have become a journey,
Incredibly verdant,
Between then and now;
Between land and sea.

I ripple through the underground,
I carve my paths,
I throw out my arms,

And let
Waves embrace the world.

Today, I am between islands.
Gushing toward the waterborne,
The waterborn.

The silt slips away
From my feet like music.

And my sobs are laughing
With the mirth of self-discovery.
The tide drowns the drought;
I am a million leaves afloat.

And I feel
Currents of foolishness,
Great shoals of wisdom
Gather round my heart,
Curious to see what the ocean has returned to itself


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