Tuesday, April 03, 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 2: Rise

Tonight a dear friend passed away suddenly in a highway accident. Selva was the gentlest, kindest soul with a core of steel, and a warrior's heart. She fought injustice fiercely; she paid for it, but she persisted. She helped organize the Voices 2017 workshop I was part of, which changed so many lives, and she encouraged us all to write, to write, to read our stories, even when we were uncertain and afraid. The world is so much poorer for her untimely loss.

I was struggling to write tonight's prompt - about using different voices - but after receiving news of her passing, the poem more or less wrote itself.

Selva, our dear, dear Dr. Selva Vathany Kanapathi Pillai, you have no idea just how many lives you touched. You will always, always have a special place in all our memories. It's a piss-poor tribute, but you loved words, and words are all I have now.


“I left a prayer in the temple. For the devils to be driven off. Someone will come. It can be done. There were priests in the old days who could do it. With one sound they could do it. If you make a groan that vibrates into the next world, you can fix everything.”

-          ‘The Skull Mantra’, Elliot Pattison

i felt you rise within me
a fish, a bird, a bubble, a prayer
a cry in stasis at the sealed barrier
of bloody lips sewed shut
with the thick black thread of denial

(truth is a needle but not all truth
is immediately acceptable)

unmake me
burn my name letter by letter
at the gate of your throat
embers to sparks to ashes to ashes to dust  
unmake me
so i may be remade

you are so small you slip from my sealed mouth
an exhale that barely stirs the molecules
of the air so still around me
around us who love you
an exhale, a sigh that becomes a sound that becomes a wail
that becomes a groan that vibrates
into the next world that fixes everything


but can it

i am the air the light the wind the waves
i am the sound of tears that fall to the earth
i am the phoenix that blooms from the embers of your sorrow
i am remade
i am



C said...

This is absolutely beautiful, and I'm so sorry for your loss. You do such justice to that pain.

Shuku said...

Thank you so much. I am still processing her absence; I don't know that anything the entire group of my friends and I can write or say, that will make anything better or do justice to the huge hole her absence has made. But it's a start.