The Candle Snuffs


I sat on the bed and
Made little chits
To remind myself
How powerful this chance
Can be-
Could I ask for
One return ticket, please?
I want to take this
Journey in reverse
I’m travel-worn
My cloak is torn
I just haven’t seen
The worst of it

I felt the plush carpet
Rich beneath my feet
Something rose inside my throat
A promise or a declaration
Dying unspoken
I think of where I
Had been
And it makes me queasy
Why would I ask for life
To take me somewhere new?
Why can I not be content
Dying in a ten-mile radius
Like people used to

I opened a box of
Old photographs
Surveyed the field and compared
Graying hair, laughter lines
If these decades just pass by
I’ll take one for the team
And surreptitiously I
Understand the feeling
Of some day wanting to die

I talk to people I’ve known
My entire life
They are different and yet
I see the very same things
Crowding on their living room floors
Filling cabinets with memories
Who will take these away?
And why and where?

So I draw full circle
These Jhodpuri slippers
The chicken-work suits
Or just a stark white sari
It’s all the same
In the dying calls
Of that house-
To me
It will just be
The darkening of dreams
Looking at wizened people
Wondering when
The candle snuffs and
Where I’ll be when it does.

2 thoughts on “The Candle Snuffs

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