Monday, 21 November 2011

Tally

"All you who sleep tonight
Far from the ones you love
No hand to left or right
And emptiness above -

Know that you aren't alone

The whole world shares your tears
Some for two nights or one
And some for all their years." ~ Vikram Seth




How many nights I’ve slept alone
Far from home, or on my own
I haven’t kept count of those nights.
From the curled-spine foetus in the womb
To the plushly-furnished hotel room
And the hospital beds, germ-free, gaunt white.

There haven’t been many, in all truth.
The comfort of elders in my youth
Child smells on my pillows in adulthood.
And the steady warmth of constant calm
In a partner’s eyes, and strong palms
Smoothing down my sheets.  It’s all been good.

But still.  On nights the moon hangs out low,
I’ve switched off the news on the radio
And this my whole world has spun out of touch.
I’ve tried to tally up those nights
And each time the totals didn’t feel right
They were either too little, or just too much.

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