Monday, June 23, 2008

Somewhere, a Poem Emerges

Two things you must remember: I haven't written a poem in months and that this is not going to be the start of something new, as that High School Musical song goes.

Weirdly enough, the first line of this poem came as I was walking from the Novena MRT going to the office. It had just rained that morning, and there was the body of a dead snail on the sidewalk. It was a brilliant mahogany color, still shiny despite the sky being overcast. You could still see the sticky bits on the sidewalk.

It was pretty easy to spin off after that.

The Imagined Death of a Snail After the Rain

You don't see it coming. After all,
your shell is the only wall protecting
you. There is nothing inside but
the blanket of darkness, your favorite
book. Outside, the wind is howling.

It hurts, the first time water strikes
like a whip lightning-quick over flesh,
or the insistent beating of a heart.
It's always easier to close your eyes,
pretend to be somewhere far away --

maybe a beach in Monaco, where women
lie topless on the sand, the sun
a welcome distraction, an innocent viewer
of the body. There is sweat and heat
and suntan oil, the swiftly moving ocean.

It will be quiet when you finally wake up.
There is a hint of a breeze beneath you,
the gap between the wall and the sky.
Maybe you will want to strip off your wrappings,
bare your soul to the sky, simply forgetting

that there will always be a shadow,
a heaviness that lingers, even after the storm.

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