poetry

Six Months to Numb Your Senses. {poetry}

 

It’s been six months since my dad passed away. The last few months have been tough. I worked hard towards moving on.

It wasn’t easy, but six months on, I can safely say that I can now think of my father without the tears rolling uncontrollably. In the last one-and-a-half years, a number of us have lost people we love. Some of us have not had the benefit of a support system because of COVID-19. We’ve had to hold ourselves on our own no matter how broken we felt.

We’ve had to pick the pieces up and piece ourselves together because that’s what life expects of us.

Through multiple losses, I’ve realized two things: a) being able to move on depends largely on dependency — the more dependent one is, the longer it takes to move on, and b) if you’ve lost more than one person and you loved them all, you will realize who you loved the most because it is for that person your heart will grieve the most — you will remember the others, but their going will not make you cry. It is the sad truth about life.

I am dedicating this poem to my dad — wherever he is now, I know he is happy.

***

It takes six months
If you ask me —
How long before the tears stop rolling
And words spill out without choking?

Six months —
To freeze the brain
so it does not wander
to areas marked Danger

Six months —
To numb your senses
So they don’t crumble
Under the strain

It takes six months
Of conscientious work
to steer your boat away from choppy waters
and go where the coast is clear

It takes longer for the memories to dim
Took me fifteen or maybe sixteen
to forget my mother
and I loved her more than I did myself

She complained I loved him more
Than I did her
I don’t know why she felt that way
Dad and I — we never agreed

He always said,
‘Your long-term memory is far better
than your short term memory’,
when I talked of the good old days.

I could have proved to him now
If he was around
That my short-term memory was better.
For it’s him I see in my mind’s eye

when on my couch, I lie
So many memories
Of us laughing, his presence —
How it made me feel safe

Why hadn’t they come to me earlier?
I wonder, I would have been kinder
My heart swallows a giant wave
Threatening to drown me.

I change direction–
I’ve become an expert
in this sort of thing
Six months — I’ve learnt

To steer so fast
as if taking a second longer
will cost me
my life.

Dad was right
I may be a quick learner
but my short-term memory
is unreliable,

or I would not have laughed
when he said he loved me
Or argued with him
that he loved my sister more.

***

Smitha Vishwanath is a banker by profession, a blogger by choice, a poet by accident and an artist at heart. She published her first book of poetry Roads: A Journey with Verses in July 2019. Her poetry has been published by Rebelle Society, The Short of It, and SpillWords Press. Her poem ‘Do you have dreams?’ was recently featured on the National Poetry Writing Month 2021 website. You could contact Smitha via her website.

 

***

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