poetry

Branches: Trying to Find Reason Behind This Madness. {poetry}

 

I lost my uncle on 28th of September to COVID-19 within three weeks of my grandma’s passing.

When I lost my grandma on September 9th, I thought I still had him. Having spent every summer holiday with them and having lived with them for three years during my college years helped weave a bond that’s hard to explain to anybody. In many ways, they were instrumental in defining the person I have become.

As I tried to find reason behind what had happened, after five days of desperation, something within me clicked. And all the sorrow I felt in my heart changed into gratitude, for that part of my life that I shared with them. I was one of the fortunate ones who was blessed to have so strong a bond with people who were not my parents.

My grandma was an institution in herself, soft-spoken yet strong. And my uncle, her son, my mother’s brother, was someone who criticized stringently, praised liberally, and lived his life helping those in need. I laughed when he said I was special, little knowing how much those three words helped me to gather courage to spread my own wings.

As I look back today, the sorrow of losing them has been converted into a pride that I was one of theirs. I hope this poem gives relief to those who have lost someone during this pandemic and are still trying to find some reason behind this madness.

***

If I don’t watch out, I’ll slip
Slide down the rabbit hole
And not find my way up
So, I hold on desperately
To a branch I’ve known
Smooth is its bark
Sturdy, easiest to hold
so I think

But it snaps
gives way
And sends me spiraling downwards
to the rabbit hole I was afraid of
I’d forgotten
How long it had been there for me
under decades of blistering sun
and torrents of rain
Succumbing eventually
I hang mid-air

Something holds
Its arms strong, able
Open wide to the sky
I grapple
uncertain, clutching desperately
Foraging hungrily
for strength within

I remember warm summers, pickling mangoes,
I clamber higher
and I see the rabbit hole, dark
down below
and I see the sun, resplendent
up above
through them, branches
Beckoning me
I gaze entranced
If autumn is here
can spring be far behind?

And my heart dances
for the seasons shared,
the branches that were
and those that are
Grieving those gone
and celebrating all that is.

***

Smitha Vishwanath is a banker-turned-writer and a management professional, who embarked on the writing journey in 2016 with her blog, while still heading the regional cards operations of a bank. After having worked for almost two decades in senior roles in the banking industry in the Middle East, she quit and moved to Mumbai, India in July 2018 with her husband and two daughters. In July 2018, she co-authored Roads: A Journey with Verses, a book of poetry. Other than writing, she enjoys reading, traveling, painting, and going on long nature walks. Her work has been published in SpillWords, Rebelle Society, Borderless Journal and other magazines.

***

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