A poem by Samrudhi Dash

Dying is an art


Somewhere, as my mind wanders through the catacombs of time,
Gathering up the amalgamation of ruins, the debris of withered dreams, fragments of what once made up who I am, was
I can't help but recollect the words of Lady Lazarus - "dying is an art"
Sylvia Plath's verses were never dissected, deconstructed in the classroom
Except for the one I read long, long back, well before I was on my way to writing...

The frosted monochrome face of a poet whose poignant ebullience never fails to amaze me
Swims to life in the mind's eye...
Instinctively, the way I have always done this, perfected this over the years,
I let the pain bleed into scribbles on paper
My hand works on at a breakneck speed, impulsive, impatient as ever
And suddenly, I hear the shattering of glass
My fingers pause, as the pen drops over the neat writing
A momentary pause, as I look at the broken fragments of the crystal glass upon the cold marble floor
The itch is too hard to resist...

My hand reaches out for one that looks the sharpest
And with surgical precision I watch my fingers neatly map out a straight line over my wrist
Against the cartograph of blue beneath the pallor of ivory,
Crimson beads appear - first microscopic, then in dollops
A drop forms, taking its own time, to give in to the whims of gravity
And I watch, motionless, almost in awe,
As it gradually slides down to merge with the blot of the brightest blue that my pen has carved on the parchment
How perfect the convergence looks - it's beautiful, ethereal in the very least
Pain and poetry coming together, entwined in a kaleidoscope of memories, emotions and more...

I smile, as I feel the first teardrop escape my khol lined lashes
Sliding down my cold cheek, almost lingering at a corner of my parched lips
The effervescence of nostalgia, lemongrass, caramel and wood
It's beyond beautiful - the way it unfolds
The dying, the catharsis and everything in between...

A wind blows, and the momentary spell is broken
Still a bit dizzy, I get back up to clean the mess
Picking up the shattered fragments of glass, 
I carefully deposit them in the Mickey mouse dustbin at the corner of my desk
Ah... I just lived another slice of life,
Or would it be more apt to call it 'a slice of death'?
There's a blot on the paper, 
I crumple it up and throw it into the bin
Mickey still smiles
And perhaps Plath too...

Only, there's no blood to mop up, no tears to wipe away
The scars on my wrists gaze back at me, poignant, filled with a strange longing
"Not yet, not tonight", I whisper
For, there are still a few more dreams to bury,
An unfinished business to attend to,
Close some files
Pen down an obituary, perhaps - don't know about that though...
But we will meet, sanguine and sapphire - soon
But not today...
Samrudhi Dash, who writes under the pseudonym 'Inara' is a poet, author, editor and motivational speaker with a Masters in English literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. She has to her credit, five poetry collections and three novels, her third novel titled, "Letters From A Stranger - A Life Changing Map", having made it to the Amazon Bestsellers List at Rank 10 in 2020. She has contributed to several national and international poetry and prose anthologies, and literary magazines and e-zines and edited and co-edited five anthologies. She is a recipient of the Nissim International Best Upcoming Poet Prize, 2019, the WE Strong Feminine Voices Prize, 2020, the WE Women of Letters Certificate, 2022 and the Nissim International Prize for Excellence in Writing, 2022. A strong feminist at heart, she believes in gender equality and women empowerment. As someone who has always lived in a day-tight compartment, taking each day as it comes, with a firm belief in the power of dreams and the divine designs of the Infinite Universe, her signature words are "Hope, Live, Believe".