By: Ashruta Narapareddy
My Old Friend, Grief
A tear-shaped droplet
appears on my face
from the graphite sky.
It trickles down
in a slow cascade
so harshly, it was meant
The pitiless raindrops
begin to beat down
like a hail of bullets,
becoming sharper and heavier.
The weeping clouds never stop,
frantically howling until
they become deadlier and deadlier.
The ocean feels
the agony of the sky,
and rises up to give solace.
The rain and the tsunami wave
become intertwined in
a manner so lawless.
The violent ocean waves
become unstoppable and invincible,
showing no hesitation, no mercy.
They wrap me in their frigid arms,
dragging me down into darkness,
as the world becomes blurry.
The harsh sounds of the ocean
steadily mute into silence,
as the inky darkness and I become one.
The water pushes me
deeper and deeper
until I am in the numbing hands
of Grief, my old friend, whom
I try to but never outrun.
As one last breath leaves our blue-hued lips,
as death’s tendrils slither around and embrace us with their gentle grips,
we wonder where we go for it is as mysterious as any eclipse.
Perhaps, our soul peacefully floats up to the radiant sky,
returning back to the luminescent stars.
Or it swims across the vast ocean, becoming one with
the magical waves so gentle like a painting of Renoir’s.
Perhaps, the colorful energies of our soul
become a part of the tangerine hues, adorning the endless sky.
Or our souls soar up to mighty mountaintops, glittering like sitting snow
and dominating the horizon in a manner so opposite of shy.
Perhaps, our soul becomes the northern wind,
caressing the world with breezes finer than Mulberry silk,
churning the deepest oceans so gently and so quick,
singing through trees and letting leaves float
in a manner so energetically brisk.
Or, it may be that we depart this earth,
and move on to another plane,
where we embark on another path to walk.
We may not know what this place that death takes us to
for only he has the key to the lock.
But the world, which we enter and exit,
will always be plagued by the unknown.
The unknown follows us wherever we go,
but it brings us magic as majestic as the holy throne.
And one day that magic allows for our soul
to become so vibrant—
it resonates with every living force,
becoming an eternal remnant.
To Be Human
a piercing pain in my chest.
It throbs. It tortures. It intensifies.
The ache becomes stronger and stronger,
like a musical reaching its final crescendo.
Is this human heartache?
pure joy wrapping its warmth around me.
It radiates. It resonates. It revitalizes.
It becomes brighter and brighter,
like the golden beams of the sun
sinking deep into one’s skin and bones.
Is this human happiness?
a bitter anger building up inside me.
It blazes. It roars. It rages.
It relentlessly consumes like a heavenly fire
swallowing the world whole and
illuminating it with amber hues.
Is this human fury?
an unwavering peace settling in my soul.
It’s calming. It’s gentle. It’s harmonious.
It softly flows and drifts,
like a subtle sea without a wave or tide in sight.
Is this human tranquility?
How rare these moments are
where I ponder on
what it means to be human, to always be
feeling divine love and bitter hate,
living in sheer bliss and unbearable agony,
seeing mortal life and immortal death,
being at heavenly peace and at violent war.
For the thousands of moments
I live as a human being,
there are very few in which
I remember what it means
—and cherish what it feels—
to be human.