The five senses
written by: Ipsita Banerjee
Winter came early this year.
Across the city comes the smell of smoke and naphthalene
as boys light fires and sweaters shake themselves out of trunks.
The moon swims among the clouds as I walk the empty streets,
the pavement dwellers are gone, they huddle behind doors
deep inside the narrow streets where moonlight never reaches;
those corners which light has abandoned even during the day.
There is a stench here, the stench of beasts pretending to be human
the stench of old money passed around from hand to hand
the stench of a sleeper class train ride that clings to your shirt
I look up at you and you look away
My words fall flat, there are no answers any more, are there?
As I keep walking, my roads wind and twist and turn
sometimes I see you, sometimes I only think I do
your footsteps go away and return to fade into the night
I hear the voices in my head, the voices that are lost:
the solemn sound of the nine am siren on a Sunday
the rippling sound of the stones you skipped upon the lake
your boisterous laugh as you called out my name
for no reason, you said, only because you liked to.
Yes, I have tasted failure, its bitterness has a rough edge
cutting at the mouth with the metallic tinge of blood
I have reached for your hand into the darkness
and have found yours, reaching out for mine
I have lain my head upon your shoulder and cried
your hands have soothed the fever from my brow
I even have gardenias mingling their scent with mine
for the five senses I have mastered, they think you walk with me;
it is my heart that is the traitor,
only my heart that knows the truth.
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