Part 13

Gathering reflections from a river
gone by. Remembering like a
reluctant rain. The day of the tragic
assassination, trying to get home from
school, in a city paralysed. Learning
what it means to be stranded.

The day the towers fell, horrified,
watching from home, some miles
out of Boston. Learning, without
wanting to, how easily far can
become farther, brown can become
browner. A different difference.

The day I moved, rebooting life
in a tiny rental, trying not to hear the
ticking of the clock. Learning that
alone doesn’t mean the arithmetic
of one person inside four walls, but
the square of all the reasons why.

Shouldn’t memory games have hidden
algorithms for winning? Get out of jail
cards? The day I was given a choice that
wasn’t a choice. When I should have
walked away. Taken the loss. Learning
hard what happens when you fuck up.

Always spinning back to that chorus
like the song on the radio. Funny
how sounds echo in an empty house
as if they too have come a long, long
way, as if they too, diminished,
are looking for the nearest escape.

Learning that when life stops, life
keeps going, but when you move
on, the grey tide withdraws, the sky
feels scrubbed, the sun is an altered
light, but you remain where you were,
where you were stopped. That day.

31 thoughts on “Part 13

  1. Such an affecting poem, Rajani – those days that stand out, the days when something monumental happens. When I look back, there were so many of them. I love the photo!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is really beautiful. I love the line on when life stop, it keeps going and this: alone doesn’t mean the arithmetic
    of one person inside four walls, but
    the square of all the reasons why

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All I can say upon reading …. I have chills all over and tears are streaking my cheeks. I have visited the 9/11 Memorial, I have felt the pain of reading the names, seeing their images … I will never forget.


  4. I’m glad you wrote this, R.R. I can relate to some, I saw it announced with “breaking news”, Mrs. Jim and three other ladies were out playing golf. One of the people in the adjoined houses came running out to tell them.. One asked, what can we do? Mrs. Jim said, “We could pray.” Pray they did, on the golf course, one Japanese Buddhist, one Islamic, a Jewish lady, and Mrs. Jim a Baptist.
    Soon we will downsize from a fairly large two-story house, four bedrooms, four and a half baths, a pool, nine years old, into an older senior living place apartment with two bedrooms and a balcony.


  5. Easy to see why this is was a difficult poem for you, truths are always most difficult to say a clearly as this — so much distillation and discernment and revision getting them right. I’ve heard it said that spiritual growth is always painful, and these turning points in a soul’s journey have the clarity of old wounds. ” … alone doesn’t mean the arithmetic / of one person inside four walls, but / the square of all the reasons why” is stellar; so too the final stanza. All of it watered by “reluctant rain.” Amen, friend.


  6. To me this poem is an inner reflection seen in the river and the rain. There are turning points in life and yes, they do come with pain and perhaps, the refrain keeps us moving forward towards the light. An honest and open assessment of life.


  7. I remember those moments in my life too, both the ones shared with my country or the world, and the personal moments where I knew there was no way to return to what was. For a few of those I needed a little distance to really comprehend how the world had changed. Some did not give me offer that luxury.


  8. choices that aren’t really choices, echoes in an empty house, … and my favorite “when the sky feels scrubbed”. Well done.


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